Eric Leveille is sous chef at Whetstone Tavern — a Queen Village restaurant and bar serving up classic American tavern fare. A Rhode Island native, Leveille moved to Philadelphia where he attended Temple University to pursue a degree in economics. His first job in food was at El Camino, working as a cook under Jen Zavala. From there, he’s worked for Philly-based restaurateurs Greg Vernick and now Jeremy Nolen, chef and co-owner at Whetstone. Inspired by memories of his father in the kitchen, Leveille says a lot of the offerings on the Whetstone menu are interpretations of dishes he ate as a child — skirt steak, corn salsa and Rhode Island-style clam chowder. Leveille chatted with us about why Bok Bar makes a great date spot and why Aldine is a must for food-obsessed instagrammers.
Best late night meal?
Prima Taco (1104 S. Ninth St.) is open until 4 a.m. and my favorite thing to get there is the number 27 torta. I’m not even sure what it is but it’s delicious! (For the record, this particular menu item is milanesa de res: breaded steak on crusty bread with refried beans, mayonnaise, avocado and onion.)
Best meal under $10?
The salt bagel at Philly Style Bagels (1451 E. Columbia Ave.). My friend Colin is one of the owners and he is killing it!
Best hidden foodie gem?
The Sang Kee Peking Duck house in Chinatown (238 N. Ninth St.). Their duck and fried dumplings are amazing and their logo is a duck with a chef hat.
Best place to dine alone?
Cheu in Washington Square (255 S. 10th St.). The Yakisoba is great and you can sit at the counter and watch the kitchen and feel less weird about eating alone.
Place you always take or recommend for out-of-towners?
Nick’s Roast Beef (16 S. Second St.) for lunch, because it’s pretty Philly and Vernick Food and Drink (2031 Walnut St.) for dinner because it’s always perfect.
Go-to date spot?
Bok Bar (1901 S. Ninth St.) because the view is beautiful and being on a roof is cool.
Best place to catch up with friends?
The Rocket Cat Cafe (2001 Frankford Ave.). It’s small and modest and the backyard is a perfect place for conversation.
Most Instagrammable restaurant?
Most of my Instagram is plates and Aldine (1901 Chestnut St.) is making some pretty inspiring ones.
For more on Whetstone Tavern, visit whetstonetavern.com and be sure to try the Cheese Plate, which features three cheeses and pickled fruit.