John Howie Steak

Big-city success can instill a desire to return home and build something great -- like the ballplayer who finances a Little League park, so that people less gifted than him have a nice place to do drugs, and bang. Now a restaurateur returns home, with John Howie Steak

Striding back to the Eastside after dropping two highly successful restos on Seattle, Chef John Howie's new spot is a mammoth chophouse made eccentrically classy with a translucent stone-topped bar, a low hallway lined with booths lit by red lanterns, and a vaulted dining room with a wall of woven bamboo -- and made epic with a menu centered around "four levels of beef", all of which you must conquer in order to attain the Golden Alka Seltzer. Said levels include 28 & 42-day aged USDA Prime (including a monster Chateaubriand for two), American Wagyu, and true Wagyu, with sides like Maine lobster mashed potatoes and creamy polenta w/ Parmesan Reggiano & local Beecher's cheddar; meanwhile, not-steak runs from roasted Alaskan halibut with Kurobuta bacon & chanterelles, to a 2lb butter-poached Maine lobster in lobster-butter sauce, to a chevre-stuffed Jidori, Japanese for "chicken of the earth" (for Chicken of the Sea, raid a canned-food drive). Lunch is highlighted by a lettuce-free Maine lobster club salad, a grilled cheese w/ caramelized onions, Swiss Gruyere, and Beecher's (served with roasted yellow tomato soup), and a bell pepper/wild mushroom/sweet onion/creamy Swiss-topped cheese steak made with aged NY Strip -- if Philly purists start whining, just Whiz in their faces

JHS also rocks a bar menu with BLT sliders, fried white-truffle-oiled ricotta gnocchi, deviled eggs w/ truffle bacon, and tempura bacon in maple syrup sauce; for booze, there's a cellar boasting $200,000+ in wine, plus signature cocktails like the sambuca/rye/fresh strawberries "Bucca-Off" and the "JHS Old Fashioned", whose ice hails from a Kentucky stream -- to which it hopes to one day return, and build an ice place to get f'd.