In Chicago, chef Brendan Sodikoff is total restaurant royalty, with an impressively varied roster, under his Hogsalt Hospitality umbrella, that includes places like Gilt Bar, Bevette's Steak House, the food hall-esque 3 Greens Market, Doughnut Vault, and the absurdly popular Au Cheval, where you can expect to wait up to two hours to eat one of his burgers. Some call these the best burgers in America.

A couple of years ago Sodikoff brought his show to New York City, with the instant hit 4 Charles Prime Rib, which poses as an intimate supper club and is impossible to get into. Tonight (Tuesday, March 5th) in Tribeca, however, the Hogsalt empire takes a grand, more accessible leap forward with the opening of NYC's very own version of Au Cheval.

Even the restaurant's physical location will likely prove to be irresistible, especially among the speakeasy set, semi-hidden behind a quietly marked door in the middle of grimy Cortlandt Alley (one of the most filmed locations in NYC). Once inside, however, things get considerably more plush. Though it's billed as a diner, Au Cheval has a definite old school clubhouse vibe, the kind where politicians and union bosses might hold court at banquettes, making deals.

The main dining room is long and moodily lit, with seating for about 75 total. The most coveted spots will be those banquettes, but there are also regular four- and two-tops to be had. A pair of kitchen-facing counters with backless, cushioned stools complete the options. Ketchup bottles on all the bare wooden tables signal an egalitarian spirit, but the napkins are cloth, and the prices are well within the expected Tribeca range. Which is to say one of the "strong drinks" will cost you around $16, side dishes "with eggs" are about $14, there's a Pork Porterhouse with foie gras for fifty bucks, and the famed burger, without add-ons, will set you back $17.

Au Cheval opened its doors for a preview dinner for food writers last week, showcasing its super rich and messy food. The restaurant's name translates literally to "on horseback," but in French diner-ese it means "with a fried egg." And there are plenty of those to go around. The Crispy Potato Hash Browns, for example, comes smothered not only with thick duck heart gravy, but there's also a runny egg on top. The Crispy Fries, too, come with an egg, as well as mornay sauce and garlic aioli. And the Chopped Salad? Slabs of bacon, tons of cheddar chunks, blue cheese dressing, and, obviously, an egg.

Double Cheeseburger with egg and bacon. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

If you're at Au Cheval, however, you're definitely getting the burger. The "single" Cheeseburger actually has two patties, the "double" is stacked high with three, melted American at every level, the proper amount of pickles, onions, and dijonnaise completing the basic package. You can then add bacon (an extremely good idea) and/or an egg (less necessary, flavor-wise, but certainly fun and visually appealing). All burger-curious and -completists need to try this one.

Other menu highlights include Chopped Chicken Liver, served with butter and thick slices of toast; some legitimately spicy General Jane's Honey-Fried Chicken, sticky with fiery sauce; a platter piled-high with Chilaquiles; and a Fried House-Made Bologna Sandwich. The signature dessert is a towering, sugary Mille Feuille, upon which you dump a crock of hot fudge on your table. In addition to the cocktails there are more than 25 beers on tap (including Root Beer), and a handful of wines.

Up front by the entrance there's also a version of Sodikoff's Sawada Coffee, which will serve high-end coffee drinks (regular and boozy), matcha, and tea, as well as some of his acclaimed doughnuts, starting at 8 a.m. and running all day. But the most intriguing aspect of the NYC location of Au Cheval might turn out to be the secret basement bar, details about which are scant right now, but we heard it comes complete with a menu of hot chicken and other fried bird offerings.

(Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

Au Cheval is located at 33 Cortlandt Alley between Walker and White Streets. Hours will be somewhat limited at first, but the plan is to be open daily for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, and late-night meals (