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Table & Travel Talk

When Culinary Insanity Meets the Menu at John Howie Steak

 

 

Menu tasting is part of the job description when you work in the hospitality world.  Today I joined two other food bloggers at client John Howie Steak during lunch to try Executive Chef Mark Hipkiss’ outrageous duo of new additions to the menu.  How do you top sandwiches which already live up to their names such as “The Ultimate BLT” or “Peppercorn Crusted Wagyu Beef Burger” with a ½ pound of ground American Wagyu red meat, tons of Roquefort cheese and all the fixings in a house baked bun?  Well – you ain’t seen anything yet – let me introduce you to the “Three Little Pigs” and the gi-normous “Triple Bypass”.

When Chef Hipkiss brought his creations to our table in the bar, every head in the place swiveled.  There was a collective intake of breath and dead silence, followed by a babble of voices asking “WHAT ARE THOSE????!!”  You could hardly miss these two towering dishes as the shear size of them was both awe-inspiring and yet, absolutely seductive.

 

The “Three Little Pigs” consists of three pork cuts:  a tempura Kurobuta pork loin, Black Forest ham and Kurobuta bacon.  This mountain of oink is topped with two eggs over easy, a Chipotle Ranch dressing, and enclosed in a bun.  Oh yes – and it is also accompanied by a generous portion of crispy French fries.  Once I got my lips around it, the burger was astonishing!  Spicy sweet dressing was a perfect playmate for the salty ham and bacon.  The texture of the crunchy tempura fried Kurobuta danced around the smoothness of the eggs.

Now let’s talk about the “Triple Bypass”.  Close to five inches tall, you really do have to stand back a foot or two just to take it all in.  Hipkiss, in perhaps a supreme moment of culinary insanity, has sandwiched a 12-ounce prime chuck burger, tempura fried Kurobuta bacon and – get this – ONION RINGS between two grilled cheese sandwiches oozing with swiss and Tillamook cheddar cheese.  This also comes with fries.

His inspiration?  “I was just trying to make burgers that were a little different.  You can always get the basics.  In the past I’ve played with deep fried mozzarella and even a chili relleno burger, but I thought this would bring some real energy into the room”.

Of course, no meal – even lunch – is complete without dessert.  I could only pray that my HDL good cholesterol would some how come through and save the day for me as we decided to split the Tempura Fried Limoncello Scented Pound Cake with sides of warm chocolate ganache, Mt. Rainier huckleberry topping and lemon mascarpone.  The Puyallup Fair, where you can purchase just about everything and anything fried, has never even conceived of anything this yummy.  We were served golden slices of pound cake the size of butter cubes, surprisingly light and encased in a thin layer of crispness.  I sliced off tablespoon sized portions and tried each sauce.  The chocolate was thick, dark, and after dipping reminded me of a churro.  Lemon mascarpone was rich and tart and the huckleberries were bursting with flavor.  My favorite?  Try double-dipping in the nicest sense and coat a piece of cake with both the lemon and berry sauces.

The “Three Little Pigs” is priced at $14 and will easily satisfy a linebacker.  For $16 you can get a “Triple Bypass” (no pun intended).  Right now both are available at lunch and are not nearly as dangerous when shared.  Limoncello Scented Poundcake is a good value at $8. Worth trying – absolutely – followed by a vigorous week of workouts at the gym and dining on air. ~ Norma

John Howie Steak, 11111 N.E. 8th St., Suite 125, The Shops at The Bravern, Bellevue, Washington  98004

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