Au Cheval - Declare Defeat!
Order the burger at Au Cheval. There's really not much else to say. Having opened up after its restaurant group's Gilt Bar and Maude's Liquor Bar and before Bavette's, Doughnut Vault, Green Street Smoked Meats, Cocello's and High Five Ramen, Au Cheval Bar & Diner could have a middle child complex - still chugging along and not getting much attention. Yet it manages to keep packing them in with its limited seating, lines out the door, beer and burger. You might be thinking "eh, show me something new - not worth the hassle." But it is. We've been the first customers to open the place; we've waited outside; and we've left our cell number, took a walk and still waited in the bar after getting the call to come back. I should mention Mark doesn't wait in line. The no-res thing is a pet peeve of his (and mine now that I think about it), but Au Cheval is the exception.
Let's cut to the food - it's rich. So don't expect to do much after eating here except for unbutton your pants and lie on the couch. As a health coach, there are very few places I go willingly knowing I will endure the agony of food-defeat. We've had the joy of trying the toasted open-faced ham & cheese fondue with fried egg, the crispy fries and mornay sauce with fried egg, the fried house-made bologna sandwich, et al. But the somewhat sensible meal for us is the single (two 4 oz. patties - double has three) burger with cheese, pickles, onions, special sauce and toasted bun. It's got what Mark calls, "great meat-to-bun ratio" and what food critics call "perfection." Order a side of their standard ridiculous fries with aioli, plus, believe it our not, their simple prep fresh fish. We had salmon the last time and it truly was simple, juicy and memorable. Try as you might, Au Cheval offers no Hail Marys, so we recommend going all in and let it take you down.