In Hawaii, Sam Choy is one of our famous celebrity chefs, with several cookbooks, an old local cooking show, and several appearances on the Food Network. Sam Choy has restaurants across the state, but his Diamond Head location is the most upscale. When the girls and I were looking for an affordable place to celebrate Christmas together we decided upon Sam Choy’s for the “early bird” special. This consisted of a four-course meal for only $30. With all of us on a budget, we thought this would be a great way to have a fine-dining experience without the high costs. So the girls and I got all dressed up and ready to celebrate the holidays, but to our dismay, me were extremely disappointed with the entire experience. It’s a good thing that we had each other because the only good part of the evening was the company!
I feel that I don’t even need to explain the food in great detail, because it was all so salty and rich. The soup was cold, the salad was drenched in dressing and topped with chewy beef, and the fish was smothered in a salty paste that looked unappetizing and tasted like a big salty mess. The dessert was a crème brulee, which was not bad, but nothing special. Ordering off the early bird menu should not be an excuse for providing a meal that is substandard.
The worst part of the night was the service. We spent way too much time waiting for our food and they mixed up our orders several times. One of my girlfriends ordered the chicken on the early bird menu, but instead they brought a different chicken entrée (that did not include the soup, salad or dessert). They did not refill our water and the waiter did not check up on us even once. We must have waited about 30 minutes just to get the check! When the waiter came with the check, he asked if we had enjoyed our evening, and I just had to tell him what I thought. When I explained that I was disappointed with the service, he responded by saying that he too was “disappointed” that he was not able to “spend more time with us.” He and the manager gave their apologies because they were understaffed for the night. They said that if we came back another time, they would be sure to “take care of us.” What that entails, I do not know, but I surely will not be returning to that restaurant again!
I was thoroughly disappointed that a place known for representing the cuisine of the Hawaiian Islands provided such a terrible experience. Being understaffed is no excuse, and we were left feeling neglected and hungry on a night that was supposed to be a celebration. This was not our ideal way to celebrate the holidays.
Sam Choy's Diamond Head Restaurant
449 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815