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Chicago May Have America's Best Burger

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 1, 2012 7:40PM

2012_7_24_aucheval1.JPG At least, so says Bon Appetit. All the Bon Appetit magazine folks were in Chicago this weekend for Chicago Gourmet (which they sponsored) and apparently in between parties, events and wine tastings they had time to go out for a burger. Even better, as they announced on their blog, they may have managed to find the best burger in America.

Where is this amazing burger? Au Cheval. Why do they like it? Because it's so simple. No foie gras, no short rib meat mixed in, no onions rubbed by monks in rural japan. Just prime beef patties, local, fresh-made buns and good cooking. Bon Appetit's Matt Duckor explains.

We liked this burger so much that we dropped by the restaurant two nights in a row post-dinner with our very own Foodist Andrew Knowlton (at his insistence) to sample it. For the money ($9.95 for a single, $11.95 for a double), Au Cheval's burger might be our favorite in the country.

We've had some things to say about this very burger in the past. Frankly, Chuck wasn't nearly as impressed as the boys at Bon Appetit. I guess we have high standards.

Is it the best burger in Chicago? Not by a long shot. Oh, it looks pretty, one of the most beautiful presentations of a burger I’ve ever seen. But that’s the highlight of the burger, which comes off as an oversalted mess masked by house made Dijonnaise and pickles, minced onions and (optional) thick cut pepper bacon and a fried egg. What sells me on a burger is if I can taste the sweetness of the beef. Au Cheval’s burger has so much going on that the beef’s flavor is the last thing you’ll notice. It’s the culinary equivalent of a Michael Bay movie. It looks pretty and starts off well, then falls right off the rails.

What do you think?