12 January, 2016
Summer Kitchen + BakeshopPosted in : Dining in Berkeley, CA, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
I’ve wanted to try Summer Kitchen + Bakeshop for quite some time, but it is always flush with people, especially because there is little seating for what is obviously a popular shop. I prefer to enjoy good food right where I am, but the long countertop is only wide enough to fit maybe a foot’s width of plate, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you like your meals cramped. Sitting at the handful of tables occasionally requires brushing your ass past the other customers, but a sunny corner is nice if you don’t mind being familiar. I’d call that design a “grab-n-go” aesthetic.
The primary draw at Summer Kitchen is the pizza, of which there are five varieties. You can order half-baked ones to…go and enjoy elsewhere. Because I’m a freewheeling blogger who lives by no man’s rules, I haven’t tried the pizza at all. Like I’d let that stop me from giving a review! (Cue evil laughter.)
In addition to pizza, the menu includes a few seasonal salads and sandwiches, some in a cold case, some made fresh. The pre-made sandwiches come in impressive stacks!
I love egg salad when the cook remembers to season it, and Summer Kitchen’s did pretty well. The eggs were ultra yellow and laced with visible pepper flakes. The amount of filling was substantial, but not so full as to launch an egg-white prison break. Unwrapped, you can see the chives pressed into the bread.
That makes for a lovely presentation, but I’d have preferred those chives mixed into the salad for optimum flavor. The country-style bread was excellent, dense but with plenty of air holes that made it perplexingly light to consume. It had the tiniest sourdough tang.
I also enjoyed the arugula and frisee salad with pink pear apples, goat cheese, candied pumpkin seeds, and shaved fennel.
I added fried chicken for an extra $2. Veggies were crisp, crunchy, and full of gusto. Dressing was too tart and sparse. Good chicken, moist with a fine-grained batter.
To drink, the virgin mojito caught my eye, as it’s meant to do advertised right by the register.
Only a touch too sweet to my palate, I found it refreshing with plenty of mint and lime. I found the cranberry-apple galette from the bakery counter AMAZING.
I literally walked down a shop and then walked back into Summer Kitchen to get it — I couldn’t resist. Who could? It had a flaky, croissant-like shell and tasty crumble that topped thin slices of apple. The cranberries were stewed into a jammy sauce that went beautifully with the rest of the ingredients.
That pastry is plenty of reason to stop by Summer Kitchen on its own. But go ahead, order at the counter, enjoy the simple, yet elegant white walls and white-bricked oven, and decide for yourself if you want to feast without all the comforts. Or take it to go.
Summer Kitchen + Bakeshop
2944 College Avenue
$7.50 – $21.00
Reviewed 14 and 17 December 2015.