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TOC Says Summer House is Flawed; Sula Enjoys Under-the-Radar Italian at Azzurra

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Summer House Santa Monica
Summer House Santa Monica
Photo: Marc Much

Summer House Santa Monica is a new Lincoln Park eatery that "immediately whisks you away to summery Southern California" but unfortunately, the beauty is only "skin deep," Amy Cavanaugh says. "Dish after dish is merely okay," starting with a salad of market greens and herbs that are "barely dressed" and a Hamachi tartare that doesn't "have any zip." Grilled salmon is "overcooked" and the housemade pasta is "well-executed," but the best thing on the menu is a sausage pizza with a "nicely salty crust" that's "crispy and chewy." For dessert, a "light-as-air" pineapple sorbet rounds out the meal. [TOC]

Azzurra EnoTavola is a new Italian sleeper from the team behind Anteprima, Mike Sula says. He enjoys the carrot caponata that is a "textbook example of the importance of simplicity in good Italian food," as well as "sweet, plump, glistening" shrimp "brightened" by a chile vinaigrette. The housemade pastas are worth ordering, especially the orecchiette that are "well worth honoring the effort they took to produce." Main courses are brought down by the inclusion of "dried-out" Italian and duck sausages but a filleted trout "demonstrates better facility with more delicate ingredients." To finish, the seasonal dessert menu includes an "arid" apple and cranberry bread pudding and a "silky" butternut squash budino with cracked walnuts. [Reader]

Summer House Santa Monica

1954 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (773) 634-4100 Visit Website