There are burgers, and then there are burgers that put all the others to shame. The burger at West Loop eatery Au Cheval is legendary (even Barney Stinson would agree). The burger is an experience. It isn’t unusual for entire tables of people to all order the burger, and generally little conversation occurs (other than moans) once the burgers are served. Dining at Au Cheval is Chicago’s version of a When Harry Met Sally Katz’s deli scene.
Au Cheval is a sister restaurant to Bavette’s, Cocello, Doughnut Vault, and Green Street Smoked Meats – and based on that fact alone you know Au Cheval is going to live up to the buzz. The thing about Au Cheval is that everyone knows that it is the best, so expect a wait. The only way around the wait is to arrive right when the restaurant opens. Otherwise, you might get lucky if you swing by after 10pm on weeknight. But generally, you should plan to wait for 60-90 minutes. I assure you, the burger is worth the wait. Just go to Lone Wolf next door and have a couple of beers. Au Cheval will text you when your table is ready.
Once you get a table, I suggest ordering two things. Start with the crispy fries topped with mornay sauce (that’s the same sauce that goes on mac and cheese) and a sunny side up egg – because you need to go all out at Au Cheval. The fries also come with an aioli, but it is really all about the cheese sauce and the egg yolk.
Then you need to order the burger. Yes, there are other wonderful items on Au Cheval’s menu – the foie gras and scrambled eggs is a treat, the chilaquiles (served for brunch and after midnight) are a personal favorite, and Charles is a fan of the English breakfast. But, the first thing anyone needs to try at Au Cheval is the burger – and there is an insider’s secret that you need to know – the single is really a double and the double is really a triple, so order wisely.
The burgers come a la carte and you have the option of adding bacon and/or a fried egg. I always add bacon; it’s thick cut and perfectly cooked. It’s some of the best bacon in the city, and if you don’t want it on your burger, or if you just want lots of bacon, you can get a side of bacon.
The burger itself consists of two or three thin juicy beef patties layered with cheese and topped with pickles and dijonnaise . I have tried many of the burgers in Chicago, and Au Cheval’s is hands down the best. It’s beefy, juicy, cheesy perfection.
Au Cheval is located at 800 West Randolph Street, in Chicago’s West Loop.