John Howie offers bacon cut from Kurobuta — the Kobe beef of pork, some foodies say. It's bacon deep-fried in a tempura batter, served with a maple sambal ponzu dipping sauce.

Share story

For all its homage to beef, John Howie Steak focuses on bacon during happy hour.

Bacon cut from Kurobuta — the Kobe beef of pork, some foodies say.

It’s bacon deep-fried in a tempura batter, served with a maple sambal ponzu dipping sauce.

To repeat the wisdom of a woman dining behind me: “Glad I ran an hour on the treadmill this morning.”

Most Read Life Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

How the deep-fried bacon tastes depends on how much batter adheres to it. When it’s doughy, the bacon tastes like it was stuffed in a pastry, in which case you should dunk it in the maple dipping sauce, the breakfast of champions. The bacon? A mere backdrop.

It’s much better when lightly battered. You can taste more of the chewy bacon with a hint of smoky sweetness, a nice bite. So tasty is the juicy Kurobuta bacon strip, you’ll regret drowning it in the dipping sauce when it’s lightly coated.

It should always be lightly coated.

Located in The Bravern, this steakhouse offers the best happy-hour value at this tony Bellevue mall.

The fried-but-light ricotta gnocchi, served with salt and truffle oil, was addicting.

But that and other nonmeat dishes get overshadowed in this baconcentric happy hour: Deviled eggs with truffled bacon. BLT sliders. And a big bacon cheeseburger with all the fixings and a side of fries. It’s made with ground sirloin with melted Beecher’s signature cheddar and served on a brioche. Tasty but predictable. El Gaucho makes a better gourmet burger.

On my visit last week, the fries were wilted. A lot of bar food you can undercook and be forgiven. But not fries. Never fries.

John Howie Steak, 11111 N.E. Eighth St., inside The Bravern in Bellevue, offers happy hour Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m. with bar food $3-$9. The five strips of deep-fried bacon cost $5. Beer, $2-$3; martinis, $5; and wine by the glass, $4 (425-440-0880 or www.johnhowiesteak.com).

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com