My obsession with Top Chef runs deep. I’ve been watching the show since the first season hit the air. My only complaint with Padma and Tom Collicio is we can’t taste the food. When the Top Chef contestants plate up their dishes during the Quick Fire and Elimination rounds, all I want to do is get a fork and dig into their amazing creations. These chefs are my heroes with Michelin stars and their James Beard awards. So when I found out that former Top Chef contestant Lia Lira had just opened her dream restaurant on Vashon Island, we had to go.
Chef Lira was a contestant on season three of Top Chef, and she made it all the way to the fifth round. She even won a challenge along with way. Yes, she is the real deal!
Friend of #bramblevashon and creative genius @ryanhast took some wonderful pics of #chef Lia doing what she do using a camera with actual film!? The photos portray the #authenticity and warmth that permeates the restaurant and her vision. ❤️ Also, we can say it (even though she will disapprove of the notion), we have a #prettychef
We called and made reservations at Bramble House. You can’t miss the adorable cottage that sits just off the main highway that cuts the island in half. It’s only a block or so north of the middle of town.
Look for the pink door and the sign by the road.
We sat at the Chef’s counter so we could watch Chef Lira work her food magic. Little did we know that this Top Chef alum would be so open to answering all of my fan girl questions about her time on the show. The thing that struck me the most about Chef Lira is that she was so laid back about everything she executed in the kitchen. The flow worked seamlessly and her staff was on top of everything.
Chef Lira’s menu used all the farm to table ingredients you would expect from a Vashon Island native. This is what Seattle Times Food & Wine section had to say about Bramble House.
“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.”
It looks like summer in a bowl!
First we ordered Chef Lira’s Roasted Beet salad. Let me preface this by saying I absolutely hate beets. After one bite of this salad, I was begging the Chef to make a big bucket of this to take with me so I could eat on it all week!
Then my husband had the Grilled Skirt Steak with heirloom tomatoes, horeradish, and sorrel. Chef marinated the tomatoes in the horseradish for acidic perfection and paring for the medium rare meat. Pretty sure my husband licked his plate!
My choice was difficult with so many great things on the menu, but I went with the classic Pan Roasted Trout with beluga lentils, caper aioli, and preserved lemon.
Then it was time for desert. As you will see, I stuck my face into the glass! This is Chef Lira’s Chocolate Mouse Passion Fruit Syrup!
Pretty sure this is when I stuck my tongue into the glass!
My husband was such a fun dinner date. He loves trying new restaurants and food with me. I love that adventurous side to him.
Then finally it was time to meet Chef Lira!
Thank you to the Bramble House and Chef Lia Lira for a dining experience we will never forget. We felt very special that night and are so excited to plan our return to Vashon Island and the Bramble House.