Chicago: Au Cheval
For Queen G's birthday, she gathered an eclectic group of friends for dinner at Au Cheval, Brendan Sodikoff's newest baby:
We somehow managed to snag 3three separate tables somewhat around the same time. My group was made up of Empress E, CK, CK's boyfriend, and myself. The four of us did quite a lot of damage. I am simultaneously proud...and terrified, to be honest.
Well, here's what went down that night. But first, props to whoever designed the lighting at Au Cheval. The strategically placed beam of light above every table created a spotlight effect that made every food photo look...holy. Instant Instagram every time.
We started off with the foie gras and pork-stuffed cabbage:
Definitely far more awesome than what any of us were expecting. The foie gras, the sweet sauce, the cabbage, the porky pork...wow.
The chopped chicken liver with salted butter and toast was the biggest surprise of the night:
Not only did I enjoy the liver, but the toast, my word, the TOAST. Thick, buttery, and crispy on the outside...cross my heart hope the die the best toast I've ever had. It was so good I almost cried when our server brought us another plate of toast to finish off the liver. If I could have that toast every day of my life, I would be the happiest person on earth. I would probably also be the fattest, but that's irrelevant.
We also got the crispy potato hash with duck heart gravy:
Definitely sounded very cool, but while tasty, it didn't really measure up to the previous two dishes. Plus it was a bit on the salty side. Perfectly cooked egg though.
There was a lot of buzz about the cheese burger, so we had to try it:
A single cheese burger at Au Cheval actually has two patties, while the double has three. We went with the single and we were not disappointed. No nonsense, just the way we like our burgers.
The fried house-made bologna sandwich almost made quite an impression:
We were all quite stuffed by then, but we kept seeing this gorgeous dessert going by to other tables. We decided to order and eat it in honor of Queen G's birthday:
There it is. The millefeuille. The server let us ogle it for a bit before pulling a move that elicited gasps from all of us. I won't tell you what happened because you really need to experience the shock for yourself. All you need to know is that the millefeuille with its airy puff pastry and rich layers of cream was utterly phenomenal.
We unanimously agreed that Au Cheval is worth a second and a third trip. Every dish was solid. Not a single one fell flat. Even what we got to sample from Queen G's table was delicious. (There was quite a bit of plate passing going on between our two booths.)
It's only open Wednesday through Sunday, but you can get your Au Cheval toast fix from 5:00pm until 2:00am. Don't leave without trying it.
Oh, and happy birthday, Queen G! May this new decade bring you new friends, new food finds, and a ton more fun!
800 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607