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Au Cheval

Eggs Chicago Fulton Market

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#1 Sneakeater

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 11:10 PM

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.


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#2 Daniel

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 12:32 PM

Been wondering about this place.. My last trip to Chicago, just two days ago, found me sleeping for 12 hours one night and working till close to 11 o clock the night before..   I really want to try this place. .A few friends of mine said similar things about the burger. 


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#3 Suzanne F

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 09:18 PM

Can you say anything more about the duck heart gravy? Hudson Valley Duck sells packages of them, supposedly for dogs, but it sounds like something worth trying to make for people.


[B]ragging rights are a side effect of hype. -- Sneakeater, 4 January 2017 - 02:21 PM

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#4 Sneakeater

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 10:31 PM

Uh-oh.  I've been making duck hearts for a person (me) for years.

 

The gravy was like any breakfast gravy.  There was some duck meat, but mainly giblet.  And the giblet was heart.  The heart was only the tiniest the bit chewy; it was very soft.


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#5 Suzanne F

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 12:51 AM

That's actually enough for me to go on. I'll bet it would be fabulous over really good grits (like the Bloody Butcher ones). Maybe on Saturday I'll get some hearts.


[B]ragging rights are a side effect of hype. -- Sneakeater, 4 January 2017 - 02:21 PM

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#6 Adrian

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 04:33 AM

Quoted 1.5 hours for a solo on Saturday. Food looked like eggs on diner things. Went to publican instead. Nice brunch of oysters and eggs on diner things.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#7 Sneakeater

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:13 AM

It's a pretty nice area there where Publican can be your fallback.


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#8 joethefoodie

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 01:42 PM

Sig Eater recently ate here and liked the burger a lot - sans egg.



#9 Daniel

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 02:25 PM

I'm in Chicago but, can't seem to make it out of my hotel. They keep providing me with free liquor and food
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#10 Daniel

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Posted Today, 02:19 PM

Well, you have to get the burger just to see for yourself.. And, yeh, it was just ok.. We ordered so much food, i took less than three small bites of the burger.. one to enjoy, one to inspect the patties, one to try it all together again.. 
 
Chicago is very hipster.. And not in a mean way or a militant way.. I said that to Alicia, she said, "doesn't it make sense that it is"  When you think Hipster, it just means people from the midwest in Brooklyn to me.  70 percent of the people are tall and blond and all look like they are starting lineman for some college fraternity football team.. So, is hipster the sort of skinny jean, weird clothes wearing dorky vibe that is a rejection of that all American look?  The artsy misfits? Who knows?
 
The space is beautiful here.. Reminds me of Diner Williamsburg in a way..  The menu reads so well, in fact all the menus here read so well..The have all the words, all the ingredients, all the tag lines.. Foie gras, fried, duck, liver, bacon, meat and cheese and everything you want when you are high as hell sitting on your couch in your underwear.  Again, these menus were at the forefront of Hipster Cuisine and it's very much Midwestern too.. 
 
I left my place in Brooklyn at 830 on a Thursday morning.. By 1:30 i was drinking a Solemn Oath beer, eating chopped liver and Matzo Ball Soup.  Just a typical day in Brooklyn. 
 
We arrived around 1 o clock at were quoted a 30 minute wait... we went next door to Little Goat and drank a Three Floyds while we waited.. We were contacted via text that our table was ready
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So, the room is small and comfortable.. I am guessing the whole thing is 20 x 45... There is a long kitchen behind the bar that  runs the length of the place.. i love that the expediter has two portioned off seats at the bar where she stands and finished plates and directs traffic. very cool.. There are booths on the other side and long sets of windows.. the music is loud and hip.. Ashley Deyj, Foxygen, Gorrillzaz, miss K was super happy.. it was played louder than you would expect at 1:30 on a thursday, it added to the fast pace of the kitchen.. Also, nobody is eating triple burgers and bone marrow to Elevator music this early in the day.. 
 
The chicken liver with texas toast and a side of butter.. The texas toast is ridiculously good.. it's perfect.. my mother use to make a dish.. it was some sort of beef dish with butter noodles.. but, what she would do is toast these little cubes of potato bread in butter in a frying pan.. I would just sit there and eat cube after cube of buttered bread like it was popcorn.. this texas toast was probably a 1/2  to 3/4 of an inch thick slice of toast that was just perfectly toasted and buttered.. you could peel the butter crust of the bread and be left with white bread underneath.. it was salty and delicious. if they just served the toast i would have been happy.. The butter was just there to make you feel like your making healthy choices by ignoring it
 
the chicken liver was delicious.. Some Jewish families use dill. we did not, so this came to play in the chopped liver and the matzo ball soup.. there was dill. certainly not as bad as raisins in rice pudding, ketchup on a burger or something horrific like that.. But, it has dill. It automatically puts my guard up.. Oh, they are one of those....
 
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the matzo ball soup, easily the best matzo ball i have had.. my mother is second place. but, the amount of schmaltz and hipster juice that was thrown in here, i don't know even want to know. But, damn, that was the most creamy and custardy matzo ball.. again, don't tell me how you did it but, i could certainly eat it again..  
 
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so yah, this is just a plate of white.. you have fried potatoes with an egg and mornay sauce and a garlic mayo... this is what it looks like and damn it, it was good.. 
 
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general jane's chicken wings.. these were ok.. we each ate one and brought it home.. we heated them up in our apartment yesterday.. not bad, not exciting.  vinegary and all that.. forgettable.. but, whats not was the three warm and moist towels served with the wings.. That's class, telling of the service and thought.. This is a professional place.. service was on point.. 
 
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the burgers are coming out.. they are being carefully and lovingly assembled at the bar right before our eyes.. we are sitting in a booth directly behind the woman sending out the orders.. we see just about every plate being made.  it's a flow, it's steady and each one is coming out exactly the same.. .
 
the biggest problem i had.. the burger.. we ordered a double.. apparently, if you do, they make it a triple?  and if you order a single it's a double..  Our waiter thought it would be a surprise.. i don't want a triple.. it's freaking huge and a different sandwich.. the ratio is messed up.. and for the patties to be really salty, it was just a lot..  i don't know.. bacon was good.. it was just a burger, not overly musty or beefy.. salt and cheese and bacon.. 
 
Everything is personal preference.. i look for something else in a burger i guess.. but, its well cooked juicy salty meat stacked very high... this appeals to a large group of people, perhaps from somewhere like the Midwestern Region?   Quality meat for sure.. 
 
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classy,  sophisticated and well executed... It's already a classic and Chicago Institution...
Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#11 AaronS

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Posted Today, 03:50 PM

that's the only screen shot you've ever posted where your phone isn't about to die.





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