Au Cheval is a very hot restaurant in Chicago's Fulton Market meatpacking district. It comes from the mind of the very successful restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff (whose first project in New York, a chop house, is coming soon).
I expected it to be very hard to walk in here. But it turns out this is one of the most walk-in friendly hot restaurants I've seen. The ass end of the bar has a few seats that always seem to be available. So small parties and especially solo diners can hope to be seated immediately. I was, twice. (To be sure, these are probably the least desirable seats in the place. But they're not bad.)
The concept here is good, simple, meaty dishes in a place that looks like an old bar and grill. I'm not going to say that every dish has an egg on it -- but the restaurant is called what it's called, and everything I had was topped with an egg.
I went for two brunch/lunches. The first time, I was in the mood for breakfast. So I had their potato hash with duckheart gravy (with an egg on top). This was fantastic. You know how it is when there's a dish you've sort of liked all your life, but then you have an iteration that just knocks it out of the park, better than you ever imagined this dish could be? Well, so here with hash brown potatoes. The duck hearts seemed to have been slow-cooked forever: nice and soft. The gravy was spot on.
This was so good that I had to return the next day to try their famous cheeseburger. This has been cited, by people who don't work at Au Cheval, as the best burger in the country. I have to dissent. It's two fast-food-size patties (but of apparently good quality meat) topped with American cheese (so far so good) and some very good slab bacon on a good eggy (but not, I think, brioche) bun, further topped with an egg (to be clear: the egg is inside the bun). The problem is that the egg and the slab bacon make the whole thing too rich by much more than half -- and also completely mask the flavor of the burger. The bacon itself was exceptional -- but I found the whole experience vaguely unpleasant.
So go to Au Cheval. Have the hash browns, which will astonish you. Try the burger if you must.
Pretty good cocktails. Good beer.