That’s right folks, a steakhouse featured on a Cheap Eats blog!! I discovered the art of the lunch special at upscale restos largely through Serious Eats, but also from my endearingly bargain-hungry mother. Most people on a budget might be inclined to avoid the ritzy Bravern in Bellevue at all costs. However, don’t be deterred by the designer stores and the notoriously expensive restaurants, for within the heart of the Bravern there lies some fabulously cheap deals.
John Howie Steakhouse is unreal. Without a doubt, it is my favorite restaurant in Bellevue. The atmosphere is chic but still warm, there are beautiful views of Bellevue, and the service is incredible. And, of course, the food is simply amazing. I happen to be more of a “sides” gal at a steakhouse, but regardless of your steakhouse food preference, you will leave John Howie’s with a smile on your face (and a mild food coma). Personally, I have found in my steakhouse experience that salads, soups and sandwiches can be even tastier and more satisfying than the steaks. Thus, the soup-salad-sandwich lunch deals at John Howie’s are a dream come true for me.
The lunch special is in effect Monday-Friday at 11:00AM to 2:30PM. It encompasses affordable options such as a soup and salad for $10, a soup and sandwich for $11, or a salad and sandwich for $12. Bear in mind, this is at a restaurant where price margins are usually estimated between $50-$60 per person. But wait, there’s more! Every menu item offered on the lunch special is magnifacent and artfully made. This visit, I chose the sandwich and salad combo. For my sandwich selection, I picked the sumptuous grilled cheese. This sandwich features swiss gruyere, Beecher’s Flagship Reserve cheddar (snaps for using AMAZING local cheese), and caramelized onions on sourdough. The bold Beecher’s cheese tastes phenomenal when dipped in the complimentary roasted yellow tomato soup (and if you have soup leftover you can just inhale the rest when no one is looking). John Howie Steakhouse makes my absolute favorite iceberg wedge salad on Earth, so my salad selection was a no-brainer. The iceberg wedge is an amalgam of crispy Kurobuta bacon, Cerignola black olives, grape tomatoes, DuChilly hazelnuts, blue cheese dressing, crispy shallots, and Rouge River blue cheese. Clearly this salad is somewhere between heart attack and happiness. To top it all off, the meal comes with crisp, homemade potato chips. You will most likely not get to these, however, after gorging yourself on the obscenely filling salad and sandwich.
I feel morally obligated to inform you of the sheer beauty that is John Howie’s breadbasket. This basket of life is replete with homemade pretzel rolls, cheesy potato rolls, buttery flatbread, crispy breadsticks and more. It may or may not be worth it to go to John Howie Steakhouse just to indulge in the breadbasket. If you have very little shame (ahem), you might very well go through several breadbaskets before your meal even comes.
John Howie Steakhouse is a great option for an upscale, budget lunch during the week. They will validate your parking, so you can park in the Bravern completely free, and you are getting truly gourmet cuisine at a very reasonable price. Incidentally, there is a Groupon for John Howie Steakhouse today ($30 for $60, limit one per person), so I suggest you contact each member of your family, like I did, and insist they buy one so you can stock up.