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Oct 19, 2007 06:23 PM

Asian chains that vary in quality

While many American chains "try" to keep quality control among their various branches, it does not seem as if Asian chains do the same.

For example: Sam Woo BBQ in Rowland Heights (amazing food)
Sam Woo BBQ in San Gabriel Square (decent)
Sam Woo BBQ in Monterey Park on Valley (not so good)

BCD Tofu House in Rowland Heights (delicious)
BCD Tofu House in Buena Park (awful)

Tokyo Lobby in San Gabriel (food quality has been improving over the past year)
Tokyo Lobby in Hacienda Heights (not so great)

Just wondering if any of you have similar stories of chain restaurant variations in quality and which branches are the best to uphold the name.

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  1. Sam Woo isn't really a chain of restaurants, but just a licensed name.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monku

      I'm not sure "Sam Woo" is even a licensed name ... more like a gentleman's agreement from what I understand.

    2. i guess chin chin qualifies as a chain...anyone have comparative reviews on locations?

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I just know of two- the one in Marina del Rey is awful, the one in Brentwood is decent. MDR's almost feels more like a take out fast food joint, or a diner.

      2. One in the DFW area that varies greatly from location to location is Panda Express. The first one I tried was surprisingly good. Every one since then was a futile effort for a repeat performance. Rotten luck? I can't remember which was the first one!

        A national chain I just flat out don't like is P.F. Chang's. My daughter reported the one in her city is great. I had an injured foot but really wanted Chinese food and couldn't stand up to cook. So being resourceful, I invited a friend to lunch and sent her to pick up P.F. Chang's take out. I ordered about five things, one on the exotic side. It's no longer on their menu, but it had melon or figs or something you don''t think of as a standard Chinese ingredient. When the friend returned with the treasures, everything was there EXCEPT the exotic! Yup. They hadn't forgot to charge me for it, just forgot to send it. So I called, talked to the manager, he apologized and sent me a gift certificcate in the mail. Worth about three or four dollars less than I had paid for the unmaterialized dish. I sent the gift certificate to my daughter, and have no interest in trying them again. The food they did send was about as tasty as unseasoned instant rice. But their menu is interesting reading!

        1. Folks, please keep discussion focused on chains local to the LA area. Discussion on national chains is welcome on the Chains board. Thanks!

          1. FYI - The Sam Woo on Valley is actually in Alhambra, not Monterey Park, although these two cities are right next to each other. I totally agree with you, Tokyo Lobby in Hac. Hts. is sub-par. Missing all the energy and ambiance of the SanG. location.
            Service and the quality have improved greatly.
            My blog review from Jan. of this year posted here: