Maybe you didn’t hear me….I said: ARE YOU HUNGRY??????
Well, if you aren’t, you soon will be. The Food Network has just named Chicago’s Au Coeval restaurant as the source of America’s best burger!
Here’s a great shot of it, courtesy of “The Burger Guide” website:
Here is a look at the night I tried this beauty at Au Coeval in Chicago…
Say hello to the Sears Tower…nobody in Chicago calls it anything else. Just west of Chicago’s Loop, there is a burgeoning food district. Along with such hot spots as “The Girl And The Goat” and “Publican”, there is a restaurant that is taking foodies by storm:
Behold “Au Cheval”!
The west loop neighborhood, just west of downtown Chicago, has exploded with new restaurants, and Au Cheval has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best!
The inside of Au Cheval feels like a modern french bistro, with an american pub feel…there are no reservations, so you can expect a wait, but they are friendly and keep things moving…
One seated, you quickly realize that the chefs are serious about their food. It is, simply, one of the best places to eat in all of Chicago. Here is our amazing food adventure, beginning with some appetizers:
Foie Gras Terrine With Strawberry Jam!
Since my son Jeff lives in California, he’s had to do without foie gras. So naturally, we ordered it here…and this dish is a masterpiece of simplicity. It is a delicious foie gras, buttery and smooth – served with thick toast and strawberry jam….
My daughter Jessica and her husband Mike were with us, so we were able to try a number of different items…like one of my favorite dishes that has never been done better:
Roasted Bone Marrow, Beef Cheek Marmalade And Toast!
Yes, this is a beautiful roasted bone marrow – and it comes out of the kitchen looking like a sculpture:
The process is easy: you scoop out a glistening spoon full of marrow, and then place it on the toast with a dollop of beef cheek marmalade…the savory sweetness of the marmalade was perfect for the marrow.
Now onto a classic french dish – that the kitchen at Au Cheval has re-imagined for a new generation!
Toasted Open-Faced Ham And Cheese Fondue With Fried Egg!
Yep, this is fondue!
Au Cheval’s take on this classic french dish is a plate of sizzling baked cheese on top of ham – with a gorgeous fried egg on top! You take a piece of toast and slather it up – after breaking this gorgeous egg of course…
Remember, these are just appetizers! Even though we were already beginning to get full, we had one more shared appetizer to go: Au Cheval’s fried chicken!
General Jane’s Honey Fried Chicken With Chili, Sesame Seeds And Cilantro!
There is fried chicken, and then there IS FRIED CHICKEN:
First of all, look at how this chicken glistens in the light – the honey glaze has an Asian kick to it, and the chicken itself is crispy outside but moist in the middle:
This is the perfect appetizer for sharing – the dish is large enough for everyone to have a couple of pieces – and trust me, everyone will:
The sauce is a bit sweet, with a nice bite of chile as well…and then you have the toasted sesame seeds – all of it coating your fingers as you eat…and you WILL lick your fingers afterward!
Time to move on to the main courses: we ordered two dishes and cut them into quarters. Au Cheval has won many awards for their food, and these two dishes are their masterpieces – first, take a look at THIS!
The Au Cheval Burger!
Yes, this is the Au Cheval take on a burger…first of all, take a look at the homemade slab of bacon:
Not only do you have the burger, cheese and bacon on the bottom bun, but you have a fried egg on the other! All you have to do is close and enjoy!
Not only does this taste amazing, but look at how this burger remains standing after being cut into quarters! One of the biggest problems with a “loaded up” burger is that it all fall apart when you eat it – but not this one…
You can see why The Food Network has bestowed Au Coeval with the coveted title of best burger in America!
And now, time to unveil another of Au Cheval’s crowning achievements:
Yes, in a world where food fads come and go, Au Cheval and reached into every single person’s past to offer up a taste of legendary goodness:
The Fried House-Made Bologna Sandwich!
When was the last time you ate bologna? Exactly! But just like the rest of the food, this dish harkens back to comfort food, yet it is presented in a modern, inventive take. Here it is cut in half:
And here is what it looks like when held up proudly by my son-in-law Mike Minick:
Take a look again: this is a FRIED BOLOGNA SANDWICH! Every kid had a bologna sandwich in their lunch pail at one point or another in their formative years, but Mom NEVER thought to load it up like this!
It has a creamy gruyere cheese on it…the Mortadella is juicy and crispy on the edges – and the flavor – it’s honestly your fondest memories of bologna turned up to eleven!
Au Cheval also has any number of other great dishes, like the Matzo Ball soup, one enormous matzo ball in chicken broth…Alex and I had it once when we dropped in on a whim and sat at the bar. I didn’t have it on this trip, but it is terrific as well.
Here is the latest menu from the restaurant:
Au Cheval is a terrific place to eat – and the prices are very reasonable…I cannot wait to go back – if you have been there, leave a comment and let us know how it was!