Au Cheval (Restaurant, West Loop)
Location: 800 W. Randolph St.
Phone: (312) 929-4580
Reservations: Not Taken
Walking into Au Cheval on a Friday night, the first thing my date and I noticed was the reel-to-reel music system sitting at the host stand. It certainly fits the vibe of this “fancy diner.” I’ve taken to calling it the “fancy diner” because, though it dubs itself a diner, any discerning restaurant patron can see this is no diner. From the dark wood interior to metal accents to the caliber of food coming out of the kitchen, this is the best diner that serves foie gras I’ve ever been to.
If you love foie gras, this is your heaven. It takes over many entrees and can be added to most dishes if you ask. I’d heard to go and get the burger, and I wasn’t disappointed. The simple burger was delicious and shone as just that — a burger. It was perfectly cooked and slathered in just enough cheese. The burger actually comes with two thin patties, but it isn’t overwhelming in size. As someone who is morally against the thin patty burger, I may have changed my moral beliefs that night. You’d be sorely disappointed to get it without a fried egg or “au cheval” as they call it. The exceptional fries come with a fried egg on top as well, and are also served with a great truffle aioli and a well executed bechamel sauce.
The take on general tso chicken was inventive and moist, but don’t expect anything you’d find at your local Chinese joint. The portion was generous, but could have used an extra ramekin of sauce.
With over 30 beers on tap and an inventive cocktail list, try a couple different things but be wary of the price tag. Most craft beers are priced high and cocktails will run you over $10.
Our service was attentive and helpful when we asked for suggestions. The place isn’t cheap, but portions are very generous and you’ll likely leave in a grease induced coma. The good kind. That said, it’ll be hard to pull yourselves out of a cozy booth at one of the few restaurants in the city where you can hear your party talk over the music. In fact, when we were there (8pm on a Friday) there was even a business meeting going on at the table next to us.
Come early and expect a wait, but not a long one. And when you’re on the street that houses so many great restaurants (Girl and the Goat, Maudes, etc) if you have a long wait, hop around Randolph and have drinks and apps. What a perfect night.
We can’t wait to come back for brunch.