“Birds of a Feather is [exploring] Szechuan cuisine in the same way I’m doing with Oaxacan,” says Steele. “I love all the cold appetizers, especially the Szechuan pickles and the okra. All the rice dishes are awesome.” The kitchen also serves items like string beans in ginger sauce, braised whole fish, and mung beans with garlic and peppercorn chili oil.
“Chef Will Edwards is doing a ton of cool stuff at Gertie,” says Steele. “Their rotisserie family-style dinner with a whole duck jumps off the menu, but breakfast is really the best: bacon, egg, and cheese with fried salami pickled peppers—and you can get it with a gluten-free bun,” he adds. They also have lighter offerings like the Big Salad with tahini ranch or the greens and grains combo.
“The folks from Fish Cheeks in Manhattan opened Chicks Isan,” says Steele. “It’s real-deal Thai food: crazy spicy, and very authentic.” Try the grilled chicken marinated with garlic, white pepper, and coriander root, and steamed corn with long beans, chili, and peanuts. Wash it all down with a Thai iced tea with lime.
“I love Ugly Baby, another super-spicy Thai place,” Steele says. “They opened at the same time as my restaurant Claro, and it’s a great neighborhood spot." Try the mushroom and pineapple curry and the grilled prawns.
“The vibe is really amazing at Suzume, you feel taken care of when you’re there,” explains Steele. “Chef Mikey is Filipino and he recently changed the menu to be more Filipino-inspired (before, it was Hawaiian with Japanese influences).” Order the tuna poke hand roll or the short rib kare-kare and rice, which comes with a zesty peanut-chili sauce, eggplant, long beans, and shiitake mushrooms.
“If you want oysters or classic seafood, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. does a great job sourcing,” recommends Steele. “It’s a seafood market where we get our fish, but you can also eat there.” Grab a seat at the marble bar and watch your oysters being shucked before diving into Gulf shrimp ceviche, grilled Baja fish tacos, and whole steamed Maine lobster.
“Peter Luger is always a top choice for the amazing, dry-aged burger. I get it without a bun and with a side of creamed spinach… and fries… and the giant thick-cut bacon,” Steele says. The Luger Burger is only available on the lunch menu, but the famous steaks can be ordered anytime, along with lighter offerings like grilled salmon and shrimp cocktail.