Much like a bodega without a credit card minimum or a Facebook video that makes you feel like a more complete person, a good group-dining place can be hard to find. Typically, you need something that’s spacious, not-too-pricey, and at least somewhat good-looking, in case you have a friend who’s saving up for real estate in Calabasas and needs to document every life experience on social media. Also, the food should be good.
Fortunately, Birds of a Feather meets all of these criteria. It’s a Szechuan place in Williamsburg, and it’s perfect for a dinner with friends when you want to eat somewhere nice, but don’t want to spend a crazy amount of money.
The menu here is huge, few things cost over $20 (with gratuity included), and the space looks like a store that would sell yoga mats made from recycled yoga mats. It’s bright and roomy, with some big windows up front and a communal table in the middle. One thing you should know, however, is that the bar isn’t very big (or comfortable) - but you shouldn’t be dining solo here anyway.
The best way to enjoy Birds of a Feather is with a group. Why? Well, first off, conversation is nice. You might even say it enhances a meal. Also, you’ll want to try a little of everything here. Start with the soup dumplings and wontons in chili oil, and go from there. As for entrées, you can get anything from a whole steamed fish to some tea-smoked duck. For something spicy and crowd-pleasing, order the Chungking or three-pepper chicken.
With only a few exceptions (the mapo tofu isn’t our absolute favorite version), the food here is very good. So go ahead and stop by with some friends. It’ll make everyone happy, and that’s a rare thing - like a Facebook video that isn’t somehow cat-related or a subway conductor who asks, “Everybody in?”
Poached Wontons In Chili Sauce
These wontons are possibly the best thing here. Once they’re gone, you’ll want to dip all your other food in the leftover chili sauce.
Crab Soup Buns
There is no scenario in which you regret ordering the soup buns. Unless you’re allergic to crab. Even then, you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Fried Eggplant Accordions
These are, in fact, deep-fried eggplant accordions. They’re big, battered, and crispy, and we enjoy them immensely.
Dan Dan Noodles
A solid bowl of dan dan noodles. If you’re eating with a group, get an order to share.
Chungking Spicy Chicken
Order this wonderful pile of chicken and chilis, and split it between 2-5 people.