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Discovering Downtown: John Howie Steak

by Paige Anderson | Dec 30, 2015
BDA Intern Jackie DeWald is going behind the scenes at some of our favorite Downtown Bellevue restaurants and businesses. Discover Downtown with Jackie where she finds the most interesting parts to see and experience!

Here’s the thing. When I think of lunch during the middle of a busy workday, a steak house— especially John Howie Steak— is likely to be my first option. Most people, including myself, tend to associate a steak house with a dinner affair or a special occasion such as being promoted or impressing a significant other to a very elegant date. Whatever the case may be, these fine-dining establishments offer some of the best in service and taste, but also deliver a nice, tasty burger during your lunch break with a price that’s nice on the wallet.habaneroshrimp

Chef John Howie himself is about making each and every guest visiting any of his restaurants — he owns four (one is private for Microsoft employees)— incredibly satisfied. The restaurant is responsive to dietary needs of their guests and offers separate gluten-free and children's menus. It ensures that no one feels excluded from the dining experience, even little ones. 

John Howie Steak offers six tiers taken from all over the world, including Omaha, Nebraska; Boise, Idaho; Brisbane, Australia and the Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan. Here’s a quick break down for you, they have USDA prime beef, custom aged and single sourced, American Wagyu, Australian Wagyu and finally Japanese ‘A5’ 100% Wagyu — which has achieved the highest overall quality score for beef, rated on marbling, fat color, beef color, texture and firmness. Learn more about the different tiers here.


I found that John Howie Steak is a true gem during the busy lunch hour in Downtown Bellevue. If you’re wanting a full three course meal I recommend you start off with the Spicy Habanero Butter Shrimp appetizer, which is soaked in garlic, butter and white wine. The best part about this dish is that you can control the level of spiciness. Maybe a tad bit lighter on the habanero for those who have sensitive palettes or even more spice for the bravest of mouths. And yes, I bathed some of their homemade bread in that delicious sauce!

Not to mention I started out with one of their lip-puckering ‘Mocktails’—there’s no alcohol in them! A Mango Basil Crush transported me from a rather gloomy day in Bellevue to an oceanside cabana on the coast of Hawai’i. Sign me up for one every day until summer comes back around!

As for the steak, I had a 28-day custom-aged Prime Sirloin Steak with Wild Mushrooms, yes for lunch, for $21! I almost couldn’t believe it myself. The juicy mesquite grilled steak was dressed up with sautéed wild mushrooms, Marsala wine, a veal demi-glaze, laid on top of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. A quality steak for lunch is a hard find and this was well worth the search. 

Let me stress that just because you’re at a steak house, it doesn’t mean you’re inclined to get a steak, although I highly recommend it because they offer six different tiers. I am a sucker for scallops, in any shape or form, so my eyes immediately locked onto the New Bedford Scallops with Creamed Leeks listed on the menu. Four, surprisingly, pleasantly-sized scallops with pickled baby golden chanterelles (a type of mushroom), tierscrispy coppa (a traditional Italian pork cold cut) and chives, all sat atop a layer of cream sauce spread around the entire plate. It was the perfect sized lunch where you don’t leave feeling weighed down from all of the food.* 

John Howie Steak offers happy hour Monday through Sunday 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday 9 to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 p.m. to midnight. Their regular hours vary, but lunch is Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with dinner available beginning at 5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. on Saturdays). For those of you looking for a family setting, or a group night out, they also offer a Sunday Family Dinner for four, definitely worth checking out! For more information on their menu, happy hour and private dining visit John Howie Steak.

This Thursday they are rolling out a New Year’s Eve bar menu that will be available from 4 to 11 p.m. Guests must be 21 and over and served in the lounge area only. There are no reservations or happy hour at the bar on New Year’s Eve. Details and menu available here.

*I was sharing all of these dishes, so I was able to try more than one. But if I had been eating by myself either of these entrees would have left me feeling very satisfied