Bellevue, WA: John Howie Steak

Our latest AHT reader recommendation comes from Denise Sakaki (aka wasabiprime on AHT/Serious Eats). Denise, a freelance graphic designer, blogs about food at Wasabi Prime and you can follow her on Twitter @wasabiprime. Thanks, Denise! If anyone else wants to share some burger intel, here's how to do it. —The Mgmt.

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[Photograph: Denise Sakaki]

John Howie Steak

11111 NE 8th Street, Suite 125, Bellevue, WA (map); 425-440-0880; johnhowiesteak.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: Artisanal burger for an affordable price.
Want Fries with That? The fries are thin, steakhouse-style frites, but don't feel bad about forgetting them.
Price: $8 during happy hour, weekdays 3 - 6 p.m.
Notes: The ambiance is beautiful in the bar; it's nice to just sit, enjoy the burger, and people-watch during happy hour.

The legend rings true—a high-end gourmet hamburger, at an affordable price. Where does one experience this mythic burger? At John Howie Steak in Bellevue, during their happy hour. Located in the posh Bravern shopping mall where it's easy to get sticker shock at the high-end stores, it's a relief to grab a spot in the atmospheric, dark wood-paneled bar of John Howie Steak during their 3 to 6 p.m. happy hour, and indulge in a luxurious hamburger and fries for an affordable $8.

Chef and owner John Howie took the classic hamburger and lavished attention on its individual parts to create a simple, but divine love letter to an American mainstay. Since this is a steak restaurant, the burger is, of course, the star: a thick patty of ground sirloin, cooked to one's preference (medium rare, if you please). The sirloin gives it a nice mix of fat and flavor, with the added dimension of being cooked on their smoked applewood grills. Topped with a slice of local cheddar cheese by Beecher's and a criss-cross of thick-cut, peppery Kurobuta bacon, the burger and its toppings are sandwiched between a split brioche roll. The use of these artisanal ingredients elevates the burger to high-end flavor, but never falls into the category of burgers piled high with too many extravagant toppings. Despite the formal surroundings, the burgers at John Howie Steak remain true to comfort food form, and truly celebrate why hamburgers are such a favorite food for people.—wasabiprime

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