Excellent restaurant news for Vashon, White Center and more.
Opening Wednesday, June 1:
Bramble House on Vashon Island: Chef Lia Lira has New York’s vaunted River Cafe and Jean-Georges on her resume, and for the latter she ended up traveling all over the world to open restaurants. She was also on season three of “Top Chef” back in the day (under her maiden name, Bardeen). Lira lived on Vashon as a kid; her return to open Bramble House is just great news for local food. She says her seasonal menu is “modern American… an inspiring world of food, looked at with an eye unbiased by the requirements of tradition.” The house is a little 1943 one that’s previously been a parsonage, an antique store, a wine shop and more. “It’s taken a long time to open, bringing this old house up to code… but the support on the island has been amazing,” she says. How’s being back on Vashon? “I’m really excited — it’s so funny — it’s fantastic.” (Opens June 1)
Bok A Bok Chicken in White Center: Chef Brian O’Connor’s first restaurant looks to be reason for the whole city to celebrate, with Korean fried chicken made with free-range bird and “a super thin, extra crispy shell that hugs in all the flavor and juicy goodness.” Also: fried-chicken sandwiches, rice bowls, kimchi, sweet-potato tater tots, house-made biscuits and more. Of note in the drinks department: soju slushies, Korean beer and chilled, toasted barley tea. O’Connor comes from Skillet, Westward, Quality Athletics and more. (Opens June 1)
Steak ’n Shake downtown: Fans of this Midwest-born burger chain have been salivating for months, and now it’s here, on Third between Pike and Union. But diehards should be warned: It’s reportedly a special urban edition with an attenuated menu, no table service and no actual dishware. (To the rest of us, that just sounds like a regular fast-food burger chain. Things in the Midwest are so nice.)
Il Corvo Pasta Studio in Pioneer Square: This is not a restaurant — it’s a retail shop from pasta genius Mike Easton, where his Pizzeria Gabbiano used to be. The pizza was excellent, but it just wasn’t penciling out for him (sigh). However, the Pasta Studio also sounds like a treasure: At least 10 kinds of fresh pasta daily, house-made sauces, Italian wines and more.
San Fermo in Ballard: This Italian trattoria is inside the next-door historic Pioneer Houses on Ballard Avenue, run by Tim Baker with his son chef Sam West. “I really want San Fermo to feel like family,” Baker says. Business partners are Wade Weigel and Jeff Ofelt (of Bimbo’s, Cha Cha, King’s, Ace Hotel, Rudy’s, Percy’s), plus Scott Shapiro (Melrose Market).
Raconteur in Seward Park: The neighborhood’s now got a Third Place Books along with this restaurant and bar from the people behind the Flying Squirrel Pizza Company, where the PCC used to be. Excellent!
Verjus on Bainbridge Island: It’s a cute-looking vegetarian cafe and juice bar from chef Brendan McGill, beloved for his meatier Hitchcock and Hitchcock Deli.
Corvus & Co. on Capitol Hill: This bar on Broadway (where a Greek restaurant was for approximately 1,000 years) started out named “Spirit Animal,” the connotations of which did not sit well with many people. The second try, “Spirit and Animal,” wasn’t that much better. Now it’s called this, and it’s open, and chef Mac Jarvis, coming from the still-pretty-new-itself restaurant Ernest Loves Agnes, is making a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean menu.
Mura Asian Eatery in Magnolia: This spot where Tanglewood Supreme used to be is run by Kay and Ted Kim, who, according to the Magnolia Voice, aim to provide the kind of “healthy comfort food that Koreans and Japanese eat every day.”