Friday, March 2, 2012

Au Cheval

It shouldn't surprise anyone that I would check out Au Cheval within a week of opening. I've been eagerly anticipating the opening and have even stopped in pre-open for a sampling - so some items were not completely new. But the main impression is that Au Cheval is a really fun place to eat and drink. The space is awesome. It has the obvious cues from Maude's and Gilt, but having the long bar with the "kitchen", the narrow space, windows and exposed brick bring an entirely different feel. Add to that a packed, energetic crowd with bumping music - it makes for a party that you want to be at - and I haven't even mentioned the food or drink. I'm sure the cocktails are as good as the other properties or anywhere else in town, but with a beer list on tap that large and interesting I couldn't help myself but try some Belgian ales (there's always next time for a stiff drink). The menu might confuse some people or even offend others but if you look around there's something for everyone. The best part of any diner experience is the greasy, delicious food that comes off the hot griddle. The difference with Au Cheval is that the food is also world class gourmet even with the traditional treatment. We tried salads, the omelete du jour, burger, fried bologna sandwich, bratwurst, beef stew with marrow bone and fries. If we had to choose a least favorite of that group we would pick a salad (and not that they were bad) - but why go to a diner to eat greens? The meat dishes were fantastic and our only problem was ordering too many and eating too much. My favorites are the fried house-made bologna sandwich (haven't seen anything like that before - pure awesomeness) and the beef stew (with a great rich sauce and root vegetables and bone marrow).

And once you've had your share of meat and eggs (or fish and salad), you can get a root beer float (must try next time), a selection of gelato from Black Dog (really good) or the always special mille-feuille (a.k.a Napoleon). We had to get one and also a side of peppermint gelato with hot fudge. 

Besides the great food and drink, I love that Au Cheval is a casual and fun place where you want to grab a drink and sandwich at the bar and not worry about reservations or dress code. The place is all about movement and keeping things going along, both for the business but also for the customer. Not every meal is an ordeal and everyone working there keeps it moving without being pushy (they don't need to because the food is ready in minutes and doesn't travel far). I'm so curious about what I didn't get to try I can't wait to return, and return, and return because it's easy to have a good a time on "the horse".

Au Cheval on Urbanspoon

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