Thursday, September 12, 2013

Au Cheval

When I think of diners, I think of a counter with a grill behind it, booth seating with some tables if the place is wide, lots of windows, breakfast all day, and bad fluorescent lighting.  While Au Cheval (which roughly translates to "with an egg") has the counter, the grill, the booth seating, and all day breakfast, it is also pretty dark and has an interesting beer and alcohol selection.  I would say that it looks like a cross between a diner and a dive bar but with a much better alcohol selection.  Located on Randolph Street in the West Loop Warehouse district, the windows are darkened and is done in black with tarnished metal trim.  The booths are black leather, there are old kitchen utensils hanging along the walls, and the metal topped counter has a bar with top shelf liquor and a selection of craft beers that aren't seen in many other places.  I came for lunch one day, but as Au Cheval plays as a diner, the menu doesn't change.  There were many things on the menu that really looked good including several things that didn't really fall under the classification of breakfast food.  I sat at the counter/bar and ordered something that, while it didn't have an egg and isn't exactly breakfast food, it also isn't exactly not breakfast food either.  I had Roasted Marrow Bones with Beef Cheek Marmalade, Savory Greens, and Texas Toast.  The marrow was buttery and well salted, and the beef cheek marmalade reminded me of the bacon jam that I had had in the past.  It was both sweet and meaty and had some nice chewy chunks in it.  I was given a small spoon to scrape the bones and I was to eat the marrow on the bread with the marmalade and greens like an open-faced sandwich.  It was all very good and a little decadent and the beer that I had with it was strangely appropriate.  It was a Red from Local Option called Blood ov the Kings.

While it was dark inside and there was a wait to be seated, the food and drink was good as was the service and while the food menu was really good, I would return simply for the unusual beer list.

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