Not Your Standard Diner

September 9, 2013

Last week the BF and I joined one of our favorite couples for a double date on Chicago's restaurant row. The stretch of popular restaurants on Randolph Street includes upscale French diner, Au Cheval. I had been wanting to try Brendan Sodikoff's (Gilt Bar, Dillman's) Au Cheval forever, so I was ecstatic when they suggested we dine there.

We showed up at 7:30 pm on a Tuesday, and had to wait about 30 minutes for a table. Au Cheval doesn't take reservations, and the space is fairly small, so you're likely to wait for a table. We were seated in a comfy booth, not far from the open kitchen. The layout is like your standard diner with the kitchen in the middle, stools at the bar around it, and booths lining the perimeter.

Au Cheval boasts an impressive draft beer selection which we all ended up ordering from. I had no idea there were so many beers on tap, so this was a pleasant surprise. I had read about Au Cheval's fried chicken on Serious Eats, and other outlets, and had my heart set on trying it out. General Jane's Honey-Fried Chicken is their take on a General Tzo's chicken. It came with several large pieces of juicy chicken coated in a sweet and spicy red chili and honey sauce. Each bite was pure heaven as the sweetness oozed through and added the most perfect crunch to the chicken's crispy skin. The cilantro sprinkled on top helped with the heat from the strings of red chili. The warm towels were a nice touch, although I would have been perfectly content licking every last bit of that ridiculous sauce off of my fingers. Our table was let speechless.

General Jane's Honey-Fried Chicken
Au Cheval has a very interesting line up of diner foods, all with a gourmet touch. The restaurant is probably most known for its burgers so I knew I had to check it out. The single cheeseburger is actually served with two thin and juicy patties, as well as aged cheddar, lettuce, chopped red onion, pickles, and a dijonnaise. The bun was a nicely sweet brioche and soaked up the meat's juices. I enjoyed my burger, but I couldn't finish the whole thing in one sitting!

Single Cheeseburger
The burgers are served a la carte so we ordered some fries on the side. They were served with a garlic aioli and had the texture and flavor of being twice-fried. These almost rivaled my favorite fries from Smoque.

French Fries with Garlic Aioli
Au Cheval also offers quite a few unique diner items. The foie gras with scrambled eggs includes a generous portion of the delicacy, served with scrambled eggs and a side of toast. You can also order roasted bone marrow with beef cheek marmalade and toast. If you're an adventurous eater who appreciates these delicacies, this is your spot.

Foie Gras with Scrambled Eggs
We had a super-relaxed meal at Au Cheval and really enjoyed the ambiance which I'd like to dub "hipster retro". The service was fast, and flawless, and the food was high quality and well worth its cost. Au Cheval gets 4.5 ghosts! I'm still dreaming about that fried chicken...

Au Cheval
800 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607
Au Cheval on Urbanspoon


Latest on Instagram

© The Ghost Guest. Design by FCD.