Most casual dining chefs work their way up to fine dining, but John Howie’s career follows the opposite trajectory. For years, Howie’s name has been synonymous with fancy steak and cedar-plank salmon. But, his newest project, Beardslee Public House, a massive, family-friendly restaurant and brewery in Bothell, is all about made-from-scratch, casual comfort food. Of all of Howie’s restaurants, it is closest in concept to Sport Restaurant & Bar (rather than his other fine dining spots, Seastar or John Howie Steak), but with a significant commitment to quality, locally sourced ingredients.
The restaurant anchors Beardslee Crossing, a giant apartment and retail community, located where Beardslee Boulevard intersects Interstate 405, and, as expected, the menu caters to kiddos and foodie parents alike. You can’t go wrong with executive chef Jed Laprade’s half-pound American Wagyu burger ($13) or the juicy house-made bratwurst ($9), but the most inventive items are on the appetizer menu. Hello, stout-infused deviled eggs ($8)! They’re a must. So is a stop downstairs, at the tasting room of Wildwood Spirits Co. Distillery, Howie and his longtime wine director Erik Liedholm’s line of farm-to-table spirits.
That said, not everything on the menu is a home run. The charcuterie pizza ($15.50) is an intriguing concept, but the 600-degree wood oven incinerated our cured meats. Overall, Beardslee and other new nearby establishments, such as the downtown McMenamins hotel and entertainment complex, are a sign that this north suburb’s boom may be closer than we think.