As you’ve probably heard 100 times today, October 21, 2015 is “Back to the Future Day” and it’s therefore appropriate that Sam Wo Restaurant officially came back to life today.
I was there for the 6:00 PM dinnertime opening but had to wait a few minutes until Mayor Ed Lee and his entourage were ushered out from their private party. The tiny downstairs seating area was bright, clean and and cheerful with its marble-topped tables and wooden stools, and the staff (mostly from the Ho Family) was friendly. There is much larger dining area upstairs, but it was not yet open. Perhaps they are still looking for a surly waiter.
I ordered a bowl of fish jook and a youtiao to soak it up with. The jook was delicious in its simplicity, just rice, chunks of fresh fish and a grove of chopped cilantro on top. The youtiao had seen better hours, but was fine for its purpose. Sam Wo 2.0 is located across from Portsmouth Square just a few steps up Clay St. from Kearny (in the old Anna Bakery space) . Between FiDi lunchers, local Cantonese, hipsters and drunks (open until 3:30 AM Wednesday through Saturday) I don’t see how is can fail.
And yes, their famous raw fish salad is on the menu, and you’ll probably feel more comfortable consuming it in their shiny new space.