Whenever I start planning a trip, I like to keep things pretty open-ended, but there are some things that I always seek out. The most important thing that I look for is the best cheeseburger in the city.
I started hearing rumblings that the best burger in the US might be in Chicago. My friend, Brad, agrees with me that the best burger in Columbus is the Rossi burger, so I value his opinion on all burger-related matters. He mentioned that he had tried the burger from Small Cheval, but not Au Cheval, and was hoping that he might get to do a comparison.
This turns out to be more of a challenge than you might expect.
Au Cheval’s reputation as the best burger in the country certainly has created a stir. The restaurant does not take reservations, and wait times are often in the range of 4 or 5 hours. Luckily, we knew this ahead of time and planned our day around that.
Au Cheval uses an app that allows patrons to track how far down in the list they are. We left the neighborhood and visited a park while we watched the number of people ahead of us dwindle. Once your table is available, they call your phone and you have about 5 minutes to show up to claim your seat.
We were seated toward the rear of the restaurant. Shortly after we ordered, the guys next to us received their order. I almost died of envy, watching them tuck into their burger. Happily, it didn’t take us too long to receive our food.
As soon as the cheeseburger was placed in front of me, I stole a taste of the bacon. I swooned as it melted in my mouth. I’m such a burger purist, though, that I typically don’t get bacon on my cheeseburgers. (It’s just another distraction between me and the meat.) So, toward the end of my meal, I ended up pulling off the bacon and eating it separately. I don’t feel that it added much to the overall taste of the burger.
Not being a slaw fan, I left that off of my sandwich, but Dennis got the whole shebang, including the fried egg. I probably should’ve done the same, as he was much happier with his final bites than I was.
The meat was well seasoned, but heavy on pepper. I prefer my burgers more salty than peppery, so while the burger was indeed great, it wasn’t the best suited for my palate.
Sorry Au Cheval. You were an experience, but you didn’t live up to the hype for this extremely discerning burger lover.