Chicago’s take on a French Diner – dining at Au Cheval

Au Cheval on Urbanspoon

Presentation      4.0
Value                  4.5
Atmosphere      4.0
Service              3.5
Taste                  4.5

After a lot of looking, Brian and I settled on living in the West Loop, when relocating to Chicago. Not only is it urber dog friendly, close to almost everything, but it also is home to some of the best restaurants in the city (think: Girl in the Goat, Blackbird, Avec, Publican, Wishbone, Vera, etc.). So after a run last week to check out all new eats near us, we made a commitment to explore the restaurants in our area for date nights.

One of the firsts on the list was Au Cheval, off Halsted and Randolph. Honestly, we were persuaded by our foodie friend @danielhindin who raved about it. Au Cheval (Pronounced “O Shev – All” and means the Horse) is French gastronomic fare meets swanky diner with a little bit of a speakeasy mixed in, which opened earlier this year.

Knowing they don’t take reservations we arrived at 6ish, hoping not too wait too long and we didn’t. The place is a lot smaller than expected, with probably only 15 tables plus the bar. We were sat at end of the bar, with a great view to see everything being made, like the host said, the best seats in the house. Everything is made before your eyes in the open kitchen, and at the bar, they showcase an impressive 30+ international beers on tap and some tempting specialty cocktails. For the food, per all the reviews you see on Yelp, Google and Urbanspoon – this place is not for those who prefer a salad with dressing on the side.

The menu consists of just two salads (initially I was tempted, but later thought I can’t come here an order salad), burgers, a steak or two, a few items with eggs and lots of Fois Gras accompaniments.  At a glance I wasn’t too excited about the menu, as I am not a huge Fois Gras fan (even this really good stuff).

However we ended up ordering the fries with Morney sauce, garlic aloli and a fried egg, it was so amazing. Then we shared the omelet special, which had a terrific blue cheese of which I don’t remember the name, we also had a single burger (which actually has a double patty).  The menu doesn’t tell you the type of cheese, the garnishes, or anything else to let you know what to expect, nor were we asked how we wanted it cooked. Nonetheless, it came out perfect (medium rare) and delicious, so that works!

In addition, to the great beer list (bocks, red ales, farmhouse ales / saisons, etc.)  and cocktails they also have root beer on draught. I of course am a sucker for root beer and enjoyed a root beer and whiskey with my meal, while Brian had a Maibock.

The prices are really reasonable, though it is easy to spend a lot after getting drinks. All in all, a great start both date night and our tour of neighborhood restaurants.

One side note: as a digital marketer, (without really geeking out or letting it influence my experience) I do think the website design needs some work.


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