10. Au Cheval
800 W. Randolph St.
- Chef: Sam Engelhardt
Expectations were lofty, and golden boy Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Doughnut Vault, Maude's Liquor Bar) delivered, frying his way even further into our hearts with this inconspicuous corner eatery. But Au Cheval is hardly a greasy spoon; if anything it's a highly polished and very stylish spoon. The menu, which servers dub "diner-style with European influences," veers into territory virtually untouched by its peers: griddled bratwurst, potato hash doused with duck-heart gravy, and a juicy fried housemade bologna sandwich exquisite enough to hoist the underappreciated sausage into superstardom. Ultra-laidback yet impeccable service had the place running like a well-oiled machine from the get-go, and the cool décor is distinctly Gilt Bar-esque. Sodikoff has a style, and Chicagoans dig it.
¢ … under $20 | $ … $20 to $29 | $$ … $30 to $39 | $$$ … $40 to $49 | $$$$ … $50-plus