Ask the Chef

Jamie Steinbrecher Keeps Tradition Alive at Okeechobee Steakhouse in West Palm Beach

When you ask Okeechobee Steakhouse executive chef Jamie Steinbrecher what his favorite piece of kitchen equipment is, you'll learn it's not his chef's knife, sauté pan, or even that fancy broiler. Instead, it's his Robot Coupe — a commercial food processor that can literally chop, dice, and slice food into almost any shape or size.

"It does everything," says Steinbrecher. "If there's even a chance it may not be working, everyone freaks out. It's like four cooks calling out sick at the same time."

At Okeechobee Steakhouse, Steinbrecher does everything too; today, the chef is responsible for carrying out founding owners Ralph and Norma Lewis' original vision. That means they still use the family's exclusive aging process for all its beef — considered a decades-old, safe-guarded family secret — and hand-trimming each cut of meat the old-fashioned way.

"A customer took crayons from the hostess, mixed all the colors together on a piece of paper, and sent it to the kitchen to explain the temperature he wanted his steak."

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For the past decade, if you've happened into the 60-year-old West Palm Beach chophouse, you also have Steinbrecher (and his team) to thank for that perfectly pink filet mignon, not-too-rare Porterhouse, well-seared bone-in Rib-eye, or classic shrimp scampi. 

Name: Jamie Steinbreacher
Title: Executive chef at Okeechobee Steakhouse
Home state: Michigan

New Times: What inspired you to begin cooking professionally?
Steinbrecher: I love the whole restaurant experience, so creating that experience was a natural fit.

What’s the first important meal or dish you remember making?
I made spaghetti with meat sauce for some sort of high school project. I guess it was important — I was being graded.

What’s your favorite restaurant in South Florida (besides your own, of course)?
My favorite spot would be Hullabaloo in downtown West Palm Beach. After work, I don't have to go far, just a few doors down to O'Shea's Irish Pub. 

What’s your favorite dish on your menu right now?
My current favorite dish is our Brussels sprouts. The dish is made with a creamy artisan Maytag bleu cheese, candied bacon, and red chili vinaigrette. It's sweet, spicy, smokey, and salty all mixed together. What’s not to love?

Do you have a favorite dish at another restaurant?
The bone marrow with veal cheek marmalade at Sugarcane Grill [in Miami]. And the stuffed peppers at Red the Steakhouse [in Miami Beach]. They have just the right amount of heat and the best tomato sauce anywhere.

What's the weirdest request you’ve ever received from a customer?
A customer took crayons from the hostess, mixed all the colors together on a piece of paper, and sent it to the kitchen to explain the temperature he wanted his steak. (It wasn’t red, pink, or brown really.)

What do you feel is lacking from the South Florida food scene?
Real Chicago-style pizza. And I'm not sure what the next big food trend will be, but I can guess that it will probably come from a food truck.

Advice for up-and-coming chefs trying to break into the biz?
Always be a student. Learn what you can from who you can. No matter where you are, someone always knows something you haven’t learned yet.

Okeechobee Steakhouse is located at 2854 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-683-5151, or visit

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna