Chef Chat

Where the Chefs Eat: Lance Fegen, Travis Lenig, Steve Marques, Eric Laird

We're ringing in the new year with a return of our Where the Chefs Eat series. This week, the chefs from F.E.E.D. TX Restaurant group -- Liberty Kitchen, BRC Gastropub and the new Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette -- tell us where they like to eat around H-town.

Lance Fegen Culinary Director/Owner, F.E.E.D. TX Restaurant Group

Standard go-to: Steakhouse Bar at San Luis Hotel. I eat bone-in filet and a wedge every other weekend when my friends come to visit me in Gtown.   Cheap eats: Cafe Lili. Couple of times a month for fried cauliflower and kibbie and all of their cold salads.

Best-kept secret: My secret eat is running up to Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette just before closing and getting a huge bowl of our killer street-style Caribe/Mexi pepperpot soup. It's so deep in flavor and very hands-on where you add to your liking, like grilled lime, sliced jalapeño, avocado, fresh cilantro, sliced radishes and Fritos. Comforting and satisfying and like $8. Can't go wrong.

Travis Lenig Executive Chef, Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette

Standard go-to: Carrabba's at Voss or Kirby. I get the Chicken "Bryan" Texas, house salad or any of the pizzas when I can get a day off. I go to BRC Gastropub for the best burger in town.

Cheap eats: Andy's in the Heights is my go-to for cheap-eats enchiladas.

Late-night: I'm married and have a child, so I don't hit the late-night spots anymore. When I did -- before I got married and had a child -- it would have been Late Night Pie, and I'd order whatever I could mumble out of my mouth. That was my late-night spot back in the day, before it burned down.

Steve Marques Executive Chef, BRC Gastropub

Standard go-to: My go-to's are Mala Sichuan Bistro for the crispy and spicy pork intestines, four joy lion head and the ribs with crushed rice (available only on weekends). On Sundays it is all about Dim Sum King. I think their garlic tripe is one of the best tripe dishes I have had, and the egg custards are better than I can make.

Cheap-eats: For cheap eats it's hard to beat the $5 three-item plate at Viet Hoa. Rice or noodles with two items. Another option is Formosa Bistro for the pork leg. Very reasonable, and make sure you take a group. It's big. And of course there is always Nguyen Ngo for banh mi and a cafe sua da.

Hidden gems: My hidden gems are Polonia on Blalock for pączki, available only on Saturday. They are doughnuts of a sort filled with rose jelly. Also, behind Caninos is Taqueria Tacambaro for the mollejas (sweetbreads) tacos.

Eric Laird Executive Chef, Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar

Standard go-to: My standard go-to place is Los dos Amigos. I'll go up to four or five times a month. I'll order the menudo no pata carne con pappas, or the chilaquiles.

Other favorites: I really enjoy the buffalo wings at the Hideaway on Dunvale, and Jaime's boudin balls on Wednesday nights at Lola's in Montrose.

Want other suggestions from chefs? For more of Where the Chefs Eat, see below:

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham