It’s been a while since I wrote my last restaurant review but let me tell you, I’ve been to some pretty ridiculously awesome restos lately. One of which I’m going to give you all my thoughts on now… let’s just say if you haven’t heard of or been to Summer House Santa Monica yet, what the heck are you waiting for???
Who went? Girls night out with my two best friends, Alyse and Blake.
Favorite part? Ummm, duhhh, the whole vibe of the place! I mean, you literally feel like you’re in Cali even though you’re obviously in Chicago. I think this resto is exactly what Chitown has been missing. It’s fun, trendy, and on top of it all, the food is insanely delish. Speaking of their food, I think the pictures that I took say it all (don’t you?!) but my favorite thing that we ordered was the spicy calamari which actually tasted more like rock shrimp. To put it simply, I could have ordered this as my meal and been beyond satisfied! Yeah, yeah, not the most healthy thing on the menu but seriously perfect in every way. Did I mention that I typically steer clear of anything on a menu that includes the word spicy? Anything spicy and I usually don’t mix well but with this, it was so good that I didn’t even care. When you go, it’s the one thing that I would tell you that you HAVE to order… [insert: I might be drooling on my keyboard as I'm typing this].
We actually decided to forgo the standard order-one-app-for-the-table-and-each-get-our-own-entree type of meal and instead, we just got a bunch of apps to share as our dinner. I don’t think it’s normal to do that there because it’s not like it’s a tapas place but it worked for us. Some other menu items that we ordered and loved were: the ahi tuna tostados, the hamachi tartare and green apple (another must-try!), and the triple-cooked thick-cut fries. I mean, yumm. At the end of our meal, we saw another table get served this really cool looking dessert. We weren’t exactly sure what it was but it was just so pretty. We asked the waitress about it and she told us that it was the house birthday cake! Then, with a wink, she said, “It’s one of your birthdays, right?!” Naturally, we went with it and all the sudden we were singing the happy birthday song to my friend Blake and were served the same really cool looking bday cake at our table. It was a little rich for my taste but who can deny bday cake? So yeah, that was a fun bonus to our night.
Before I continue with the review, I just have to note another bonus about Summer House Santa Monica: they have an open kitchen and you can see everything going on behind the scenes because it’s literally in the scenes. I am a sucker for an open kitchen. But then again, who isn’t?
Least Favorite Part: Well, I would say the only let-down was the grilled vegetable tacos. They were a last-minute add on to our order and when they came out, we all thought they looked so so good. But after trying them, none of us were that impressed. Maybe it was because the wheat tortilla was falling apart and dry? Or maybe it was because the vegetables weren’t well seasoned? Whatever it was, they were my only complaint of the night. And really, in the scheme of things, it wasn’t even a complaint. But obviously this is my restaurant review and I’m going to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth! [Read: just don't order them when you go!]
Overall, Would I Go Back? Yes yes yes yes yes. To be honest, as I’m writing this I’m thinking about when I can go back next. I need to take my husband there and get a real entree!! While it’s cool to get a reservation during the cold, winter months (only because when you walk in, you really do feel like it’s summer), I have a feeling summer at Summer House Santa Monica will be even more of a scene. Why you ask? Because the roof of the main dining room is retractable and just for that reason, I guarantee it’s going to be the place to be during Chicago’s ridiculously fun summer season. In addition, in my opinion, Lettuce Entertain You restaurants are the best in the biz and I have a feeling Summer House Santa Monica is going to be around for a long time to come. I mean, we were there not even 8 days after opening and it was a well-oiled machine. From the wait time for our table (minimal), to the excellent service from our waitress (she was really nice and very knowledgeable), to the quick rate in which our food came out after ordering. Everything was great!
Summer House Santa Monica is located in Lincoln Park at 1945 N. Halsted St.
(On Halsted St. just south of Armitage St.)
What do you think? Will you go? Have you been?
What were your favorite entrees??