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New Sam Woo BBQ opening in San Gabriel ...

ipsedixit May 24, 2007 08:21 PM

... sure looks like it.

On Las Tunas Blvd. in the shopping center just a bit east of San Gabriel Blvd., in the same strip mall as the Albertson's and Tokyo Lobby.

  1. raytamsgv May 25, 2007 08:32 AM

    What store is it replacing?

    1 Reply
    1. re: raytamsgv
      ipsedixit May 25, 2007 08:21 PM

      I believe it used to be one of those wanna-be 99 Cents Only stores -- e.g. 98 Cents Only.

    2. o
      Ogawak May 25, 2007 01:06 PM

      Really good news, since my mom lives near there. Tokyo Lobby is still around? Living on the westside, I used to stop by Sam Woo in MP to pick up an occasional roast duck and char siu to take home.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ogawak
        eatdrinknbmerry May 26, 2007 10:44 AM

        Tokyo Lobby is still there, and still very packed. I took a peek when i was waiting in line for Young Dong soontofu.

      2. katkoupai May 26, 2007 10:52 AM

        Sounds good to me. I haven't been to Sam Woo in a long time, but I have enjoyed their food in the past. How many Sam Woo's are there now? I know the one in Irvine, the one in Alhambra...

        I checked on Wikipedia, and these are the Sam Woos in the area. I never knew there were so many Sam Woo's!

        Freestanding - Alhambra (BBQ)
        Cerritos (BBQ and Seafood)
        Costa Mesa (Seafood - defunct)
        Covina - (BBQ - defunct)
        Irvine (BBQ and Seafood)
        Rowland Heights (BBQ and Seafood-closed around December 2006)
        Los Angeles
        Freestanding - Chinatown, Los Angeles (original BBQ closed - relocated BBQ still open)
        Van Nuys (BBQ)
        Garvey Plaza - Monterey Park (BBQ)
        Mandarin Plaza - Rowland Heights (BBQ and Seafood)
        San Diego (BBQ)
        San Gabriel Square - San Gabriel (BBQ and Seafood- Closed- Lost lease at beginning of 2007)

        Apparently, there's one in Nevada and Ontario, Canada as well.

        7 Replies
        1. re: katkoupai
          ipsedixit May 26, 2007 02:04 PM

          "How many Sam Woo's are there now?"

          All I can say is that there's alot!

          If they aren't careful, the Chowhound gods will soon banish this post to the "Chains" section ...


          1. re: katkoupai
            eatdrinknbmerry May 26, 2007 03:40 PM

            whoa i didn't know of so many. just make sure you see these chinese characters on the sign.... 三和 . there are a few places using names that sound like "Sam Woo" name to lure customers in. Sam Woo; Sam World. S&W in Irvine. Hop Li; Hop Woo.

            1. re: eatdrinknbmerry
              Chandavkl May 26, 2007 08:50 PM

              Well, the old Sam Woo Seafood upstairs in the Chinatown food center was sold and it's now Sum Wu, and the Sam Woo BBQ in that building was also sold and is now San Woo BBQ, but we don't count those, nor did we count Same Ward in Monterey Park or Same World in Rosemead.

            2. re: katkoupai
              Chandavkl May 26, 2007 03:42 PM

              The one in Montebello closed down, too. Also I believe that Monterey Park BBQ, across the street from the Monterey Park Sam Woo, was part of the chain, but that one is also gone. If the one in Costa Mesa Metro Center is gone I'm glad--that one didn't deserve to be in the chain.

              1. re: Chandavkl
                barcelona May 26, 2007 03:44 PM

                I've never been to any of the! Can someone fill me in? Is the food more casual or fast food??


                1. re: barcelona
                  katkoupai May 26, 2007 05:26 PM

                  The one that I've been to had a fast food section and a sit-down section. I believe this was the Irvine location, but I haven't gone in a very long time.

                  This place was very popular with my Chinese-American friends in college.

                  1. re: barcelona
                    Chandavkl May 26, 2007 08:46 PM

                    If by fast food you mean steam trays, a couple of the locations have it but really its either bbq meats to go or sit down.

              2. monkuboy Jul 21, 2007 03:29 PM

                Well my wife and I ate there last night so definitely the place is open. We got there around 6:30 and soon after we arrived the place was filled. I don't know what happened but our order took 30 minutes to arrive. My wife was looking at the other orders coming out (many to people who were seated well after we were) and observed that it seemed they were bringing the same dish out to two different parties, as though they were waiting for two orders to come in before they made a particular dish. Was our 30-minute wait worth it? Unfortunately, no. We only had simple dishes of young chow fried rice and shredded chicken chow mein, but the former was really salty and the latter was really greasy. Both were quite bland. The water glasses also smelled of peanut oil. The dishes we observed going to the other tables looked decent, like most any other Chinese restaurant. Portion-wise, they were medium, being neither skimpy or generous. We also noticed that a couple of other tables complained about the slow service. Now, this must be taken in context of the restaurant only having just opened sometime during the week so maybe the kitchen and the service need to settle down. It sure was crowded in there. Given the multitude of Chinese places in the area, there's nothing special about this one.

                1 Reply
                1. re: monkuboy
                  exilekiss Jul 21, 2007 06:07 PM

                  Thanks for the review, Monkuboy.

                  Yah, that's pretty much par for the course at Sam Woo, IMHO (minus the slow service - but that's probably due to the new location / wait staff as you said).

                  FYI: Sam Woo's (in general) are serviceable, homely Cantonese-style food. Depending on the cook (and the location), it can bump up to "Good" or drop down to "Awful." The highlight of most Sam Woo's is the price and value. I'll give the new location a try next week or something (give it some time to settle in).

                2. r
                  revets2 Jul 21, 2007 03:16 PM

                  it's my understanding that SAM WOO BBQ & SAM WOO RESTAURANT is not a chain and most are independently owned.

                  and it's not the name of the founder as many believe. SAM in chinese is three, in this case symbolic for the three strokes for the character of the culmination of heaven, man, and earth. WOO or WO meaning harmony.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: revets2
                    Chelmoon Jul 21, 2007 03:51 PM

                    There was even once a restaurant review of one of the locations referring to Sam the man.

                    1. re: Chelmoon
                      AGENT FOODIE Jul 23, 2007 12:18 AM

                      i know its not related but dont ever go to the sam woo in las vegas. terrible food and service. when we left without tipping them due to terrible service and food, they sent the busboy after us. i told the clueless busboy what happened and left.

                  2. Chili Aug 17, 2008 07:26 AM

                    OK EVERYBODY!!! Each and every Sam Woo's IS a different restaurant. It is not a chain. That is what I was told by those who work in the Original Sam Woo's on Broadway in Chinatown L.A. If they were Americans they would have taken this to court but I don't think they have copyrighted the name.

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