The Summer House is an elegant white tablecloth restaurant with all glass windows and doors overlooking a lovely garden. And just below is a lovely view of the ocean along with a Beachside Bistro. The restaurant has had fine reputation for some years even though its management has changed a couple of times. In 2010, Chef Todd English took over management of the restaurant and reduced prices while maintaining or improving the cuisine. We visited again in 2012 and were greatly impressed with the food and pricing.
Since then, English has reduced his empire and The Summer House is apparently no longer managed by his group. However, the food is still very good as is the service, but the menu prices are significantly higher. All of the 10 entrees are significantly over $30 and 6 of them are over $40, which can easily make for an expensive evening.
We visiting last Saturday night and enjoyed mostly elegant service and excellent food. Right after being seated we were presented with a lovely little amuse bouche of crab meat on a mildly pickled miniature cucumber slice, followed by warm, freshly baked bread and real butter.
There are 7 appetizers, 5 cold and 2 hot on the menu: 3 salads ($16-$19), a Salmon Duet ($25), and a Tuna Carpaccio Nicoise ($27). The hot appetizers are New England Clam Chowder ($15) and a Crab Cake ($28).
The Tuna Carpaccio was made of fine slices of rare tuna, Nicoise olives, haricot vert, a hard cooked quail egg, shoe string potatoes and “foie flurries,” very finally ground something or other. It was both a spectacular presentation, and an absolutely delicious mixture of flavors. Very successful indeed.
Our other appetizer was the Clam Chowder, and was richly flavored with a lot of small pieces of clams. The flavor was excellent, but their version had very little potato in it. Still, it was a real winner.
For one main course, we had Lobster Fra Diavolo ($43) essentially a spicy tomato sauce over linguini with copious chunks of lobster. The flavor was excellent and the lobster tender and plentiful. Again a really successful dish.
Our final entrée was Fluke Meuniere ($38) served with a lemon caper sauce, cauliflower puree and arugula. Fluke is basically summer flounder and is on about every menu this summer on the island. You can get it more cheaply at most of them. While the coating had a nice buttery flavor and the lemon caper sauce was very good, the fluke itself was tough and dry, perhaps because it was cut too thin. This is such a simple dish to cook until it flakes, it is surprising to see it bungled. The waiter offered to replace it when he heard, but it was too late in the meal, and when the manager asked on the way out and we told him, he was less then concerned.
Our bill for 2 with 3 glasses of wine, no coffee or dessert, was $186 with tax but before tip. That's a lot.
So in summary, the Summer House is a beautiful restaurant and most of the food is quite good, although rather expensive. Skip the fluke.