Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset That central "YES" mark on the crisp white backdrop spoke to me upon entering Summer House Santa Monica this past Sunday afternoon. I quickly learned its first impression is a lasting impression amongst the crowd, who harmoniously affirms every aspect of the establishment. The bright and open space, the eclectic menu, the spectacular service, and the cookie-lined sweet shop collectively sing "yes" to every dining guest.

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The well-versed menu isn't overwhelming or unfocused like many "American" spots; it's selective and sophisticated, from the lobster tempura sushi roll and ahi tuna taco to the squid ink pasta and brioche lobster roll. Of course, I had issues choosing an entrée, but that's primarily due to my indecisiveness. I chose the freshly baked brioche bun with lobster and a crisp green salad. I was very content with my decision.

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The smooth guacamole and smoked salsa appetizer was a home run, naturally. We squeezed fresh lime over the tortilla chips to mimic Chipotle's infamous tang. The dish disappeared within minutes.

The cauliflower side was a surprise winner. Roasted with a jalapeño pesto and then topped with a fascinating textural mix of candied lemon and parmesan. Bread crumbs to finish, and bam. The presentation was stunning, as well.


On the way out, we couldn't help ourselves but order an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie to-go. I highly recommend a similar ritual -- Wouldn't you love to carry the spirit of Summer House with you home? The answer? YES.