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Grilled Cheese Sliders, Blue Cheese Fries & More Comfort Food at The Upperwest in Santa Monica

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For Chef Nicholas Shipp, you don't overthink your food. Rather, keep it simple and have fun, he says. Inside his newest venture in Santa Monica, with 28-foot exposed ceilings, The Upperwest carries a relaxed vibe with a touch of New York (think TriCeBa) that nicely complements Shipp's high quality (yet fun) dishes.

Shipp takes your regular American fare and adds a very intentional high-class spin to it. His chicken dish is a pan roasted half free range bird served with tomato, yellow hominy and collard greens ($17). The savory mac and cheese is shell pasta with asiago, goat cheese, irish white cheddar, mozzarella, fresh tarragon and a crunchy parmesan crust ($12). The out-of-this world vegan tomato soup is topped with a small black bean-corn salad and served with grilled ciabatta toast ($8) -- and it goes wonderfully with the amazingly rich grilled cheese sliders filled with cheddar, goat cheese, blue cheese and caramelized onion on a buttered sourdough ($11).