Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Monday-Saturday till 1, Sunday till midnight
Upscale diner from Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Maude's Liquor Bar, Doughnut Vault).
You can ignore the air quotes that otherwise accompany the description of Au Cheval, chefpreneur Brendan Sodikoff's ostensible diner, as a "diner." Nearly a quarter of the menu incorporates chicken ova in some way. The name itself, despite its equine association, is culinary slang for putting a fried egg on something, like a rider on horse. There are, basically, eggs with everything: you can have your hen nuts scrambled with foie gras, poached in a midnight special of chilaquiles, nestled among bacon and escarole in a salad, laid atop a croque madame, or shaken in a cognac sidecar. And if that somehow leaves you feeling unfulfilled, a fried egg can accessorize your brat and smashed potatoes, your 38-ounce foie-and-apple-larded pork porterhouse, or your house-made bologna sandwich. That sandwich is the poster child for the most potentially crippling trait of the food at Au Cheval: gigantism. It's a wobbling skyscraper of spice-spackled and griddled pink meat ribbons oozing melted cheese onto a shellacked egg bun, a depraved and magnificent wonder no one in his right mind should attack alone. The cheeseburgers tower too; thin, stacked, 30s-style patties—a single means a double, a double means a triple—cooked through but juicy. In these days of burger fatigue, they stand among the most unique and well played in recent memory. Even one of the few concessions to a body's need for roughage—a Cheops of shaved fennel, carrot, red cabbage, and apple mined with gobs of blue cheese—looms precariously over the table, a provocation to your stomach space. There are no pies or egg creams here—just Black Dog gelato plopped in a float made with house-made root beer, or a mille feuille for two, a high stack of sugared puff pastry sandwiching billows of sweet vanilla cream. Greasy spoons don't curate classic cocktails or boast 30 craft beers on tap either. Read the full review >>.
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Open till 2 AM Monday through Saturday (1 AM on Sunday), Brendan Sodikoff's "diner" boasts curated classic cocktails and 30 craft beers on tap. —Mike Sula