Irvine >Food & Dining > Sam Woo Restaurant
Dead Fish & Health Violations. We went to Sam Woo for lunch on 5/26/08 and were seated in the back next to the fish tanks. There were dead fish floating in the tanks along with the others that would be used for feeding customers. Their gills were falling off & eyes were white, so they had been dead for more than a couple of hours. When we mentioned it to the manager, he simply laughed about it. Upon reporting it to the health dept. I found that they had been out on 5/15/08 and there had been multiple violations including 3 majors. Beware of Sam Woos. Their health standards are horrible & you may get sick.
Best Chinese. I love this place. After we moved to Irvine, we couldn't find a place with good Chinese Food, til we tried Sam Woo. The service side has excelent service. Everyone in my family loves their food.
we go there because there's no much other choice. If you believe that how good a restaurant is depends on how busy it is, then this one is a bit misleading. Of the 2 sides of SW in Irvine, the BBQ side always have a line during meal time. The other, fancier, side doesn't have so long a wait. Though the food is coming from the same kitchen, prices are different. Go figure??? As for taste, the Chinese go there because the lack of other choices in Irvine and we're too busy/lazy to drive up to Rowland Heights or Monterey Park for the more authentic stuff. That's not to say all are not good. The roasted duck deserves honorable mention. We'll order it when eating there or get it for take out. The seafood soup was pretty bad. Don't think the chef used any broth, rather heated up plain water, thicken with lots of cornstarch, put in some tofu and imitation crabmeat. Equally bad is the salt-n-pepper pork. Way too much batter. The other restaurant up Culver does a much better salt-n-pepper pork. A word on service. Was there one time with a date. We ordered a live fish for steaming. Waiter said the fish is too small and suggested we get 2. I asked the waiter how much the fish weighs. He said about a pound. I said that's plenty. Actually, that's the perfect weight for the type of fish we ordered because any larger the meat would be to tough. So the waiter came across as lacking knowledge of the food they're serving, and I really thought his goal was to bump up the total bill so he can get a bigger tip.
EXCELLENT CHINESE FOOD. Honey-Walnut shrimp is to die for, and the Peking Duck is delicious. The menu items are actually a little pricy, but they all taste wonderful so I dont mind ( its REAL chinese food). The standard chinese items are there as well, and also good. There are two sides to the restaurant, a quick take-out side and a dine-in formal side. Eat in the formal side. Service is relatively prompt and friendly, and the restaurant is a good size, so there is usually a minimal wait. There are only two chinese restaurants I go to in the OC, and this is one of them, for good reason. (okay sometimes I get in the mood for that really cheap, americanised chinese take-out, but thats a different story). Sam Woo is real, quality chinese food, which other chinese people come to eat (the clientelle is primarily chinese).
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