Au Cheval: A User's Guide
Elevated Diner Classics | 30+ International Beers | Housemade Bologna | Duck-Heart Gravy
Appetizer: Crispy fries topped in mornay sauce, garlic aioli, and a fried farm-fresh egg
Entree: Fried housemade-bologna sandwich, which made Eater’s list of "The Most Iconic Sandwiches in Chicago"
Side: Housemade bread and butter pickles
Dessert: Mille-feuille—traditional French pastry layered with cream
Where to Sit: Slide a stool up to the polished zinc bar, where you can look in on the kitchen and watch chefs work their magic atop the griddle.
When to Go: Dine before 3 p.m. on the weekends to sample the chefs’ unique takes on brunch fare, like housemade granola and specially made mimosas.
The Vibe: Taking cues from classic diners and pedestrian brasseries, Au Cheval’s hip take on greasy spoons features exposed brick, antique-style light fixtures, oversized mirrors, and ceramic tiles shaped like bowties.
Behind the Name: In French, the name “Au Cheval” translates to “on horseback,” at least within most contexts. But once you enter a kitchen, the phrase takes on a new meaning: a dish with a fried egg on top. Au Cheval’s chefs certainly live up to that definition, since they put fried eggs atop a large portion of their menu.
Plan on waiting: Huffington Post food critic David Rosengarten notes that waits often stretch past two hours, but that didn’t stop him from writing that his “mind was simply blown by Au Cheval.”
Order a beer with your eggs. Just because Au Cheval takes inspiration from the diners of days past doesn’t mean it sticks to the old-fashioned drink menu of coffee and coke. Explore the impressive beer list, which features more than 30 international brews on tap.
Follow the restaurant on Twitter to stay abreast of any unexpected changes to the restaurant’s hours or menu.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Tour the ever-changing gallery space at Elephant Room (704 S. Wabash Avenue), which showcases under-represented artists in the Chicago area.
After: Grab drinks and play games of giant jenga at Clover (722 W. Grand Avenue).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Head to Dillman’s (354 W. Hubbard Street), another brasserie-style restaurant (with a focus on classic deli fare) helmed by Au Cheval’s owner, Brendan Sodikoff.