From Our Editors
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.