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Chi Dynasty-Studio City, review & photos:

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O.K. fellow chowhounders, I was the guinea pig chose to try this new Chinese restaurant. I went in with an open mind knowing the negative things said on this board and knowing their location is known as the spot of doom.

As I entered I was quite impressed, it has a very nice Chinese decor of warmth and a welcoming feeling.

I was seated to some ice water, to bad they don't bring you hot tea but that's o.k.

I started with the Dim Sum sampler, see photo, in the photo is half of what each order contained:

Shrimp dumpling, pork shumai and a vegetable dumpling, I enjoyed the flavor of all except the veggie one.

The table next to me had the lettuce wraps which I will have to try next time and looked very good.

My main dish I chose the sesame chicken which came out looking great with sprinkles of black sesame. The flavor and taste was very good and I would order this dish again.

Note, their dishes don't come in half orders so each dish are the portion for two as well as the pricing.

My bill with tip was $25.00, yes expensive but hey they have to pay that Ventura Blvd. rent.

For Americanized Chinese I will return, Sam Woo's is still my main pick though this does beat Bamboo and Kung Pao Bistro in my opinion.

Also the hostess was extremely helpful and friendly, named Charlene

Please share your experiences too.

Cheers,

Stuart

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Chi Dynasty
1813 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

 
 
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  1. Stuart - what is the allure of Sam Woo, other than the BBQ?
    Nada.
    At least Kung Pao, Bamboo, and Chi Dynasty have sauced based dishes, even though Bamboo does them very poorly.

    -----
    Chi Dynasty
    1813 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

    Sam Woo Cafe
    727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Kung Pao Restaurant
    4911 Warner Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92649

    20 Replies
    1. re: carter

      "Stuart - what is the allure of Sam Woo, other than the BBQ?
      Nada."
      __________________________________________________________

      Are you serious, carter?

      Where else can you get pig's blood, a variety of offal dishes, wonton noodles, tomato beef rice, chow fun, congee, etc.?

      And not sure what you mean by "sauced based dishes" but ever try the braised sea cucumber, kung pao chicken, mongolian beef, braised egg plant, etc. at Sam Woo, all of which are based on one type of sauce or another.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        And how about the tripe in a ginger green onion sauce?? Or if you prefer a black bean sauce.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I have never been in a Sam Woo BBQ, ever.
          The only one in the valley is in a shopping center at Victory & Sepulveda, between the 99Ranch Market and The Voyager Inn, a hooker motel, and miles from the Studio City/Sherman Oaks area where I live. It is more likely I would try the ones in the SG Valley, yet once there, I find so many options I already like that it never comes to mind.

          1. re: carter

            If that's the case, then why make the statement that you did?

            It just seems so out of character for you, carter, since your opinion is well respected (at least by me).

            1. re: ipsedixit

              My concern was that if I wanted something other than BBQ, what might be my options. I can walk to the Boneyard Bistro for all the quality BBQ I will ever need, so the likelihood of my ordering same at Sam Woo would not be too great.

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              Boneyard Bistro
              13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

              Sam Woo Cafe
              727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

              1. re: carter

                Obviously (as you say) you've never been to Sam Woo.

                The BBQ there is nothing like what's offered at Boneyard. Not saying one is better (or worse) than the other -- just that they are different, very different.

                (As an aside, I'm not even sure it's "correct" to call Chinese BBQ "barbecue" ... I think it's a total misnomer borne of a lazy use of the English language.)

                1. re: carter

                  Chinese BBQ method can be described as "oven roasted"....no smoke.

              2. re: carter

                Quick, easy, legit chinese for those of us too lazy to go to the SGV
                Cheap and tasty BBQ pork/chicken/duck

                1. re: carter

                  massively hyperbolic post, in terms of the time it takes to get from sherman oaks/studio city to sam woo, and the mis-characterization of its location.

                  1. re: linus

                    Hardly a mischaracterization of the neighborhood, as 99Ranch Market would love to move from that site, and has wanted to for 10 years, give or take.
                    They just cannot find an alternative site.

                    1. re: carter

                      o.k., i'll bite. what's wrong with the neighborhood? i've been there during the week, on weekends, in the morning, afternoon and night. sam woo sits between the 99 ranch and a staples.
                      if they're any hookers about, i doubt they'd find paying customers among the little old ladies and children i see dining at sam woo all hours of the day and night.
                      99 ranch probably wants to move because the parking lot is a nightmare, and trying to turn left (south) out of there pretty close to it.

                      1. re: linus

                        The hookers live at the Voyager next door to the north, and apparently ply their trade on the sidewalk, in the parking lot, and have even been known to check out the personnel in both restaurants(Woo and Pho) as well as the grocery store itself.

                        1. re: carter

                          Sounds like you speak from personal experience?

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            i have been to this location dozens of times (for sam woo, pho so 1 and 99 ranch, and i have never seen one. and i like watching hookers as much as i like chinese bbq'd duck.
                            whatever you think about the food at sam woo, i have felt as safe going there as anywhere in the san fernando valley, during all hours of operation.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              No, just the comments from the 99Ranch Market regional operations manager who asked me if I knew any place they could move the store, because of that reason, and the wrong demographics.
                              I made two suggestions, but by the time the company got to investigating them, they were already spoken for.
                              Grocery stores in the valley do typically high volumes as there are not many competitors, nor quality locations.

                2. re: carter

                  Carter-

                  I agree with "ipsedixit" below, Sam Woo is the real deal and you get your money's worth too. To start the soups are to die for and the price is extremely low. Sam Woo's isn't known for beef, instead their BBQ pork and duck.. Sam Woo's pungeant shrimp is wonderful which is sauce based as well as orange chicken-sauce based.

                  I will return to Chi Dynasty and it will do good for the jewish community during holidays and across from Art's Deli (I'm jewish if that offended anybody)

                  Kung Pao Bistro, I know you respect this spot for their seafood dishes. I also judge a spot by the interior, I want to feel welcomed & comfortable when dining out, Chi Dynasty delivers in these areas. Bamboo is now their main competition now as they are very similar. If you were to bring up that new spot Green Apple Bistro, sorry I cant recall the exact name but the feel to that place is more in and out vs. taking a date and enjoying a sit down meal. To continue on your comment on sauces, to me this is the same at sushi bars. One sushi bar stands out more then the other due to their quality vs. being drenches in various mayo sauces. Either way, give Chi Dynasty a shot when in that area, I will.

                  -----
                  Kung Pao Bistro
                  7853 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

                  Chi Dynasty
                  1813 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                  Sam Woo Cafe
                  727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                  Green Apple
                  6256 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                  1. re: carter

                    Sam Woo. Sometimes I crave their clams in black bean sauce. Great stuff!

                    -----
                    Sam Woo Cafe
                    727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                    1. re: carter

                      FWIW, this thread has convinced me to give Sam Woo a try.

                      That being said, there are so many Sam Woos listed in the general vicinity, and I'm assuming they aren't all a chain because of differences in the names.

                      In Chinatown alone there's a Sam Woo Bar-B-Que Restaurant at 803 N. Broadway and a Sam Woo Seafood Restaurant and a Sam Woo Cafe each at 727 N Broadway. Can I assume the 803 resto is the same as the Van Nuys? And is that the same as the one on Las Tunas Drive in San Gabriel, or the Sam Woo Sea Food on Valley Blvd. in SG?

                      Many years ago there was a Sam Woo takeout-only on Lankershim across from In-and-Out in North Hollywood but it was awful, the worst Chinese I've ever had in SoCal that didn't come off a steam table. I hope THAT one isn't the same ...

                      1. re: maxzook

                        There is a chain of Sam Woo restaurants, but there are many, many imitation Sam Woos in/around Los Angeles and OC. Some better than others.

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                        Sam Woo Cafe
                        727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                        1. re: maxzook

                          No longer Sam Woo on Broadway. Now called Hong Kong BBQ, same owners and same menu from before. At least a year since it's changed names.
                          For all practical purposes it's a Sam Woo.

                          -----
                          Hong Kong BBQ
                          803 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA