Elevated Diner Classics | 30+ International Beers | Housemade Bologna | Duck-Heart Gravy
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.
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.
Toeing the line between corner bar and gourmet grill, The Point serves old-fashioned comfort food alongside vegan and gluten-free fare. The eclectic menu matches the decor, which effortlessly blends exposed brick and timeworn racing photos with sleek chrome light fixtures and sentient bar stools. Diners can plumb new depths with intriguing menu items such as the crab cake with caper remoulade, the vegan mushroom broth risotto, and the tilapia ceviche with orange and lime. Or they can rely on old standards such as the Point burger with cheddar and bacon or the chicken wings, which come in chipotle barbecue or gorgonzola-bacon. It's not all rib-sticking entrees, either. In her glowing review, the Chicago Reader's Julia Thiel praised the lineup of libations as well, saying, "The drinks menu is just as impressive as the food, offering a dozen beers on tap... another 20-odd in bottles and cans, plus a dozen wines by the glass, the same number of cocktails, and a good selection of spirits, particularly whiskey and tequila."