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Today's Case

A Particular Steak Marinade

Subject: Re: Steak sauce or marinade recipe
From: Ward
Date: 12/12/2019, 12:10 PM

On 12/11/2019 6:32 PM, Ward wrote:

Hello Phaedrus,

I have searched, off and on, for over fifty years for “the flavor” of a steak I 
enjoyed in two separate restaurants located on each side of the state of Washington. 
In a minute, the details. But first, are you still entertaining requests? I stumbled 
upon this site as I continue to search for my sauce recipe.

The details:

I first enjoyed the flavor of this sirloin steak in Bremerton, Washington at Bernice’s 
Steak House.  This was around the years 1960 to 1965.  The restaurant was located along 
Kitsap Way, near Marine Drive.  I believe the business closed in the later 1960 years.  
Then, just by accident as I was travelling across Washington state, I stopped in a small 
café by the name of Sunset Café, I think that was the name.  There, I ordered a steak.  
That steak had the exact flavor I had been looking for (over forty years by now). I asked 
the waitress if the cook had ever worked in Bremerton and she said no (after asking).  
I then asked about the flavoring used and she said it’s a “house recipe.”  I find that 
hard to believe but nevertheless that’s what I was told.  After my trip, I wrote to the 
Sunset Café, attn: dayshift chef, for a better answer.  After about six weeks I received 
two portion cups with what he said was the rub they used on their steaks. Did not taste 
like the same stuff. I told the chef that the flavor was predominately that of Worcestershire 
sauce, and his comment was that they DID marinate the meat in it for about 30 minutes prior 
to cooking on the flat-top. 

I have attempted many different combinations of marinade using Lee and Perrins sauce but 
to no avail.  I am 71 years old and have been looking for THE flavor since my days in high 
school. I have posted letters in the local newspaper, both the food section and the letters 
to the editor, requesting help from former workers at Bernice’s Steak House. By this letter, 
you can see I have failed so far but I am not giving up!!

Please help if you can. Bernice’s and the Sunset Café are the only two restaurants that I 
have ever found the taste, and I have been literally hundreds of places that serve steak 
with no luck… yet.

Thanks for listening.  I’ll keep you informed!  

Hello Ward,

I did what I could think of to try to locate any clues about Bernice's Steak House. I found your previous request to the Kitsap Sun in 2004 here: Kitsap Sun Archives

Ward Starring of Bremerton has spent almost 35 years looking for a recipe from Bernice's Steakhouse, once located along Kitsap Way at Marine Drive, and closed in the mid-1980s. Their Angus steaks were "either grilled with or marinated in a sauce or rub which gave them an exceptional flavor," he wrote. Some of the ingredients were Lawry's seasoning, garlic salt and Accent. Starring hopes a former cook from the steakhouse remembers and will share the recipe.

I found an obituary of a lady who had worked as a waitress at Bernice's and I found the obituary of the owner of Bernice's, Ebba Bernice Hudanic, from 2004:Kitsap Sun Lifestyle

I also found a wedding announcement from April 25, 1974 for Charla White (Pinky) and Dennis Simmon. Dennis Simmon's employment is given as "chef at Bernice's Steak House".  I could not find anything further about Charla and Dennis Simmon in Bremerton or in Washington. They could have moved out of state when Bernice's closed. See: Shelton Mason County Journal

The names of Ebba Bernice Hudanic's children are given in her obituary and that wedding announcement gives Charla White's mother as Donna Dinovi of Belfair, WA and her father as Ross White of California. The wedding was held at the home of Susie Reynolds in Bremerton, and the bride was given away by Brian Allison. If you wanted to try to locate any of those people, you might be able to find out something about the steak from them.

The only other thing that I can do is to post this on my site in the hopes that someone with additional information will see the post and respond.  If you can tell me where that "Sunset Cafe" was located, I'll see if that is worth pursuing.


On 12/12/2019 1:05 PM, Ward wrote:

Wow!  You give me hope!
The Sunset Cafe was in a small town named Cle Elum in Eastern Washington. It is just off 
Interstate 90, between the towns of Snoqualmie and Ellensburg.(Those towns are miles away 
but probably the most easily found.)
Snoqualmie Pass is one of the mountain passes dividing east from west in Washington state 
and a very popular snow skiing area.
I hope you have some luck with this and per the agreement, if, and that's a big if, I finally 
find what I'm looking for I will be notifying you promptly!
Thanks for your interest.

Hello Ward,

I did some research on the Sunset Cafe. Their menu says that they get all of their meats from Owen Meats, which is just down the street from the Sunset Cafe. One of Owens Meats' specialties is pre-marinated meat, so I wonder if Sunset Cafe perhaps buys their steaks already marinated from Owens. If so, then Owens Meats might be the place for you to try to get information about the marinade.

Their website is : Owens Meats

Their specialty menu, which mentions some ingredients of their flank steak marinade, is here: Owens Meats Online Menu


Thanks, I'll check into it and get back to you.

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