John Howie Steak House

Written by on August 18, 2011 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Bellevue, Washington

How I heard of this place: My friend, Paul gave me a coupon for John Howie before he moved to southern California in the winter of 2010. I have had the voucher (non-expiring) in my wallet since November and finally had a reason to use: I was on the east side.

Type of cuisine: “Our steaks are USDA Prime 28 day and 42 day custom-aged; American Wagyu from Snake River Farms, Boise, Idaho; American Wagyu from Mishima Ranch, San Luis Obispo, California; and Australian  ‘A-5’ 100% fullblood Wagyu from Blackmore Ranch, Victoria, Australia. We grill the steaks over an open flame mesquite charcoal grill, imparting a rich mineral smoke flavor to the meat. USDA Prime Rib Roast is applewood rotisserie smoked and slow roasted in a bed of rock salt. Australian Wagyu is seasoned with a mild sea salt and pan seared allowing the flavorful meat to stand on its own. We procure the best products available: Kurobuta Pork, Jidori Chicken, Wild King Salmon, Berant’s Sea King Crab, Local Dungenesss Crab, Maine Lobster, Western Australian Cold Water Lobstertail, Japanese Hamachi, Big Eye and Yellowfin Ahi Tuna, Pacific Swordfish, Hawaiian Mahi Mahi and other game fish. All grilled over an open flame applewood grill, imparting a subtle sweet smoke flavor. Local wild mushroom and truffles are foraged throughout the Pacific Northwest, when ever possible we utilize local organic farmers for our produce, dairy and cheeses. John Howie Steak is a chef driven concept utilizing local and seasonal products, all breads and desserts are baked in house, ice creams and sorbets are created specifically to our recipe by Karl Black of Olympic Mountain Ice Cream in Shelton, WA.”

Ambiance: The dim-lit, high-rise restaurant feels extravagant and us, unworthy of entering such a pristine space. The host and hostess greeting us at the entrance not making us feel any more comfortable as we walked in after our four-hour spa excursion. They looked us up and down, and with one eyebrow raised, rolled their eyes at each other as we shared that we would be joining them for dessert. We were guided through long, narrow, tall-ceilinged hallways and to a large, open dining area. The floor-to-ceiling windows directly ahead made up one entire side of the restaurant, with views of Bellevue, it’s cityscape, trees and hills in the background. Inside, high backed booths made their way through the middle of the establishment, separating chair and table seating on either side of the space. White, linen tablecloths covered the tables, and half-way down to the floor; cushioned, white, leather chairs (full-backed) at each spot. Bright red Glassy Baby votive holders set at each table. Wrought iron, Piet Mondrian style artwork take the eye upward from the booths to the cylindrical, lantern-esque lights hanging from the tall ceiling above. Dark-colored walls, in what seems a greenish version of elephant grey, with wooden trim lead to open doorways where waitstaff place orders and maintain their table setting supplies. Modern artwork by way of paintings are hung sporadically around the space, giving color and detail a place to shine. The wall behind the booth at which we are seated is textured, resembling rounded, weaved wood-paneling, filling the expanse between wall and window, from the top of the rust-orange cushioned booth seat back to the ceiling. “Experience the Northwest’s premier dining experience. Comfortable surroundings, prime custom-aged steaks, side dishes that define culinary excellence and an award winning wine list featuring bottles from near and far. All presented with an unmatched level of service and attention to detail. These are the hallmarks of John Howie Steak. Whether you choose to entertain family, friends or business guests, our staff will work to exceed your expectations.”

What I ordered: Our coupon entitled us to one complimentary appetizer, soup, salad or dessert valued at up to $20. To begin, we were offered a bread basket with cheddar cheese sticks, crispy, sun-dried tomato flatbread, and several tiny rolls, accompanied by a small, square-shaped dish for whipped butter.

Fancy Bread Basket

We selected a cheese plate with three selections ($15) with our choice of: Humbolt Fog – California, Goat’s milk, light, rich and tangy; Rogue River Blue – Oregon, Cow’s milk, rich, creamy, minearal; and Mitica Sottocencere with Truffle – Italy, Cow’s milk, ash rind, truffle, juniper, licorice, and ginger.

Cheese Plate

The ovalesque, white plate was presented with the three cheeses, Rainier cherry jam, honeycomb, Marcona almonds, dried apricots, and fresh-baked, sliced walnut bread. After placing our order, our delightful, friendly and generous server brought us the John Howie amuse bouche: mesquite grilled North America steak, topped with salsa verde.

Amuse Bouche

Sad that we were not hungrier, we settled for our beautiful cheese plate…and instead ordered dessert to keep the delicious food coming. At the recommendation of our server and due to the beauty of the sun outside, we opted for a summer treat: Meyer Lemon Pie ($8), white chocolate drizzle over the custard in a graham cracker crust, vanilla creme and strawberry coulis.

Meyer Lemon Pie

What I loved: It’s hard to go wrong with cheese! But, I do have to admit that the amuse bouche of steak, on its own, was well worth the trip to Bellevue.

Why I loved it: The food was delicious, the setting pristine, but our happy, friendly, gracious and professional server made the experience most enjoyable.

Cost: High ($8-$18 per dessert)

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