Chef John Howie has always had the Bellevue dining culture in his blood. According to Seattle magazine, he started bussing tables at a local restaurant at age 15 and hasn't looked back since, building up a culinary empire with four venerated Washington restaurants bearing his creations.
At John Howie Steak, Chef Howie works with executive chef Mark Hipkiss, grilling USDA Prime steaks aged up to 42 days, American Wagyu steaks from Snake River Farms in Boise, Idaho, Pure Blood Wagyu beef from Victoria, Australia, and Japanese A5 Wagyu beef from the Kagoshima and Miyazaki Perfectures. The meats sizzle over an open-flame mesquite, charcoal grill, holding onto a mineral-smoke flavor far superior to other restaurants' Twinkie-smoke-flavored steaks. The imported cuts mingle with local organic produce and dairy as well as wild mushrooms and truffles culled from throughout the Pacific Northwest. John Howie Steak's robust wine menu complements the meaty textures and full, smoky flavors with more than 600 selections from California and Washington, as well as far off lands such as Spain, France, and New Zealand.
Keep your face fresh and young, spread happy vibes, boost your immune system, and sharpen your memory smarts with today’s Groupon. For $5, you’ll get a ticket to a Seattle Theatresports show at Unexpected Productions, the city’s longest-running improv performance (a $10 value).To avoid this common improv pitfall, print out this handy list of suggestions by clicking Print, located under the File menu in most browsers.
At The Tin Table, the dinner menu offers local, sustainable, and pub-friendly eats, including modern American salads, meats, and seafood selections. Grab a seat at the bar to sip Chimay Blue Reserve ($10), tongue-tie on a few shoestring fries with truffle salt ($4), or simply snack through a plate of duck-liver pâté, cherry jam, sweet pickled-carrot ribbon and crostini ($5). For a hearty dinner, Tin Table tablemates can hang fangs on seared swordfish adorned with spicy avocado, sweet corn, red onion, and peppadew ($14) or Carlton Farms pork tenderloin flanked by braised rainbow chard, shaved garlic, and a fig drizzle ($15). To top off the evening, make a heartfelt request for the black-plum galette served warm with almond cream, caramel sauce, and vanilla-bean ice cream ($8), because, with the exception of speaker-boxed teddy bears, nothing says “love” like dessert.
The Booze: Sun Liquor has the unique distinction of being part bar, part restaurant, and part distillery. The latter is the domain of head distiller Erik Chapman, who worked with founder Michael Klebeck to come up with their own distilling processes for gin and vodka. In 2011, they debuted their signature creation, the Hedge Trimmer gin, which they make with nine fresh and dried botanicals. Other award-winning vodkas and gins followed soon after.
The Pour: Bartenders take the distillery’s liquor and combine it with fresh-squeezed juices and housemade bitters. They focus mainly on signature cocktails, though they also pour a selection of craft beers, including Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout.
When to Go: Stop by on the weekend, when the restaurant serves brunch items such as housemade country-style biscuits and gravy.
Vocab Lesson Grenadine: a common bar syrup characterized by its deep red color and sweet and tart flavors. It’s traditionally made with pomegranate juice and sugar.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Peruse local artwork, or adorn your body with some at True Love Art Gallery (1525 Summit Avenue), which also houses cutting-edge tattoo artists.
After: Buy a unique board game or card set at Gamma Ray Games (411 E. Pine Street), which is open late, for post-drink reverly at your apartment.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Sun Liquor Lounge (607 Summit Avenue), which features the cocktails, but not the food.
Even the more modest accommodations at W Seattle are deluxe. Pillow-top beds, goose-down comforters, WiFi, and bathrooms stocked with luxurious Bliss products make stays comfortable and relaxing. Guests who want a truly special stay can book the Extreme Wow suite. The 1,000-square-foot suite is located on the hotel's top floor with soaring city views, which gives guests a taste of what living in the Space Needle would be like, if the Space Needle had a jacuzzi.
While guests may come from faraway places, the food served at Trace, the W's acclaimed restaurant, doesn't. Executive Chef Steven Ariel cooks up Asian-inspired dishes with ingredients from local farms. You’ll find 100% organic produce from Willie Green's Organic Farm used in salads and locally caught seafood from Taylor Shellfish Farms in the bouillabaisse. The fresh food, served in Trace's renovated dining room, led to Food & Wine magazine naming it one of the Best Hotel Restaurants.
The first thing guests notice when walking into W Seattle is the colossal, three-story fireplace centered in the lobby. But this isn't some homespun relic. After a massive redesign (which netted the hotel a Restaurant and Bar Design Award in 2013), the architect designed a modern fireplace area that's welcoming—the space is dubbed the Living Room—while keeping to the W's modern aesthetic. In Trace, the designers took some structural columns that were once an awkward necessity and transformed them into sleek, geometric poles that frame the sushi station like curtains, drawing attention to the theatrical preparation. Elsewhere in the dining room, a mural pays homage to the duality of Seattle—a nature-lover's haven and a sci-tech mecca. One side of the mural appears to show jellyfish, but as you walk to the other side, a supersonic jet emerges from the picture.
Northwestern ingredients swim through Acquabar Bistro and Lounge's menu of homestyle American fare and seafood entrees, and fresh fruit and herbs infuse the bar's list of inventive cocktails. On weekdays, Acquabar's adjacent café specializes in casual lunches such as toasty grilled paninis and espresso with coffee beans from Caffe D'arte, and the restaurant's bistro and lounge invites dinner diners to luxuriate amid modern hardwood décor and feast on regional American entrees including Cajun catfish and po boys crafted from local oysters. Owner and experienced restaurateur David Leong, who was once profiled in Seattle Weekly, also attracts late-night revelers with live music, DJs, and sultry mermaid vocalists.