We want to talk to you about a place where it’s summer year round. A place where you can don your finest Lululemon and chambray in an upscale dining environment. A place where diet coke and white wine flow like water. A place where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. We’re talking about a little place called Summer House Santa Monica.
It truly is summer every day at Summer House, a tall order in a city where snow has been recorded eight out of the last twelve months. The space is whitewashed, dotted with dozens of twinkly glass lights, and covered by a beautiful retractable glass roof that lets in more light than we’ve ever seen in a restaurant. It’s a nice reprieve from the common “rustic yet modern” feel that most spots seem to have these days. And due to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills feel, it attracts all the betches that Chicago has to offer. Sometimes it feels like they’re trying a little too hard, like when they used to offer an actual beach ball on the menu for $7.95, but luckily that’s been removed and overall the theme works.
The feel permeates the menu. Kale lemonade? Got it. Quinoa and veggie rice bowl? Got that too. Side of California grapefruit with your brunch? You betchya. Fortunately, the menu also has a nice smattering of fresh seafood, pastas, and proteins to satisfy people actually looking to eat. It’s a little bit unfocused (rarely can you order prime rib French dip, spicy tuna nigiri, and an enchilada within the same meal), but overall, the food is good.
It’s ends up being pricey, which means you probably don’t want to be a regular. But Summer House is a good option if you’re looking to soak in some Vitamin D and catch up with the ladies. Before you head over, keep in mind that it’s a See And Be Seen kind of place, so don’t let anyone catch you sneaking some oversized chewy chocolate chip sea salt cookies from the bakery case on your way out. Or fully commit to being face deep in cookies without shame, because those puppies alone are worth the trip.
A must have starter. The calamari is lightly battered yet crispy, and the spicy lime sauce is fingerlicking good. Most of the time it’s bangin’, but once it was over-sauced.
These won’t knock your socks off, but it’s still biscuits and honey butter, so it’s hard to say no.
Brussels a la Lincoln Park with pancetta and balsamic. While they get an F for creativity, they get an A for execution.
Plump, roasted cauliflower with a jalapeño pesto sauce and topped with parmesan and breadcrumbs. Safe but decent. We expected more heat with the jalapeño pesto sauce.
A great entree option, although not the healthiest. Lots of delicious brown butter and lemon sauce with creamy mashed potatoes.
Tortilla chips covered with diced watermelon, tuna, avocado, and crema. The portion is small, but the flavors are excellent.
Squid ink pasta with large lumps of Alaskan king crab, spicy chilies, lemon, and basil. Our favorite dish here and a great order.
It’s not what we expected because it’s not as saucy as traditional enchiladas, but we still like it. Stacks of crispy tortillas with a pickled red onion, cucumber salad, mushrooms, and crema. It’s a big entree.
Don’t cheat yourself. Take a peak at their cookie counter and see what kind of baked goods are going on. Perhaps these Fruity Pebble Treats will be around.