Au Cheval

No particularly special occasion brought us to Au Cheval, a “diner” located just west of the Loop in Chicago. I’d been browsing for new and interesting spots to try out in Chicago, determined to get to know the culinary landscape for which this city is known. Although they didn’t appear to have a menu posted on their website, I managed to glean the type of fare from various Yelp reviews, including everything from gourmet burgers to foie gras scrambled eggs. By all accounts, Au Cheval was a diner with European-leanings and an admirable selection of beer. So David and I decided to make the journey westward to check it out.

Upon entering, we were immediately struck by the intimate ambiance and decor and the boldly open kitchen. The hostess estimated about a half hour wait, so we bided our time with drinks at the bar, musing on their extensive beer collection. It ended up being slightly longer than anticipated for a table, but our hostess was good at keeping us updated and we were happily entertained by our tasty drinks and the culinary ballet going on in the kitchen.

Once we were seated, we perused the menu, which was an odd jumble of appetizers and entrées mixed together. There were multiple dishes that caught our eye, and so we decided on bone marrow with beef cheek marmalade, foie gras terrine with strawberry jam, cheeseburger with a side of thick-cut bacon and foie gras scrambled eggs (’cause I couldn’t resist). Aside from a minor snafu involving the size of a beer glass (one of David’s restaurant pet peeves), the dining experience was lovely. The food was impeccable–David even declared the bacon to be the best he’d ever had (and he’s sampled a lot of bacon). My foie gras dishes were delicious, the terrine was, naturally, melt-in-your-mouth good and the foie gras scrambled eggs were earthy and rich. David’s burger was also quite good, though he noted it was very dense as it didn’t have any veggies to speak of (lettuce, etc.). His eyes were bigger than his stomach, however, as the bone marrow had very nearly finished him off, and he only made it through about half of his burger and bacon. Though he was delighted to take them home, anticipating the delicious breakfast that thick-cut bacon would make in the morning. By the time we left, the music was louder, and the place looked to be a lively Friday-night hang out. Definitely worthy of a second visit. And a third and fourth.

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