A Finer Diner
Au Cheval doesn’t horse around
It's all about the humble egg at restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff's latest venture, the "diner" concept Au Cheval ("on horseback" in French), where you can get foie gras with scrambled eggs ($18), frites with a fried egg ($9), lyonnaise salad with an egg topper ($12.50) and a ham sandwich with, yes, more egg ($13).
We put "diner" in quotes because, as the spot's chicly cramped, romantically dim interior attests, this is no Denny's. And after a certain number of visits to its sister establishments--Maude's, Gilt and The Doughnut Vault--we've learned what to expect: delicious, Frenchified food...and crowds.
Go early (hours at this diner are dinner-only; 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Wednesdays through Sundays) to snag a stool at the counter and become mesmerized by the sight of a cook grilling you up a juicy cheeseburger with a buttery, slightly crunchy bun (the two-patty "single" is $10; the three-patty "double" is $12).
If you're going all-out with friends, charm (or wait) your way into a tufted leather booth, order the 32-ounce pork porterhouse ($39), sip a puckery Horse's Neck cocktail (rye, lemon, ginger beer, bitters; $9) and take notes about which songs from the groovy soundtrack you'll be downloading at home.
It's confirmed: Sodikoff's a whiz at creating the place to be. He's not bad with an egg, either.
Au Cheval, 800 W. Randolph St.; 312-929-4580 or aucheval.tumblr.com