218 E Third Ave, San Mateo, CA | Directions 9440137.565157 -122.322775
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Central San Mateo
consistently the best quality at reasonable prices for years...
great food – They are really great and the food is good here too. I really like the agedashi tofu here as well. Sometimes they get busy though and the service takes a little extra time, but they try hard to keep up with the busy schedule they have on Friday and Saturday nights.
best sushi south of SF – They have the freshest sushi, great rice, and a huge selection of sushi that run of the mill sushi places will not provide.
Reservations are very important. It is casual but you will wait without a rsvp
Not for single diners, this restaurant discriminates – I went to Sushi Sam's Edomata in San Mateo for dinner on Friday, Oct. 17th, 2008.
The restaurant was busy, and I could see there were no tables available. When I requested seating for 1, the host asked me 4 times "Single?" because he seemed to have trouble understanding I was dining alone.
I thought it'd be great to sit at the sushi bar and watch the preparations. There were 2 seats available at the sushi bar, side-by-side by the wall. At that moment the host told me in a hostile tone that because I was alone, he couldn't possibly consider a table for me, but he said I could sit at the sushi bar.
I was surprised at his tone, but thought this was a nice idea and started to make my way to 1 of the 2 seats. The host stopped me and said, "No, not there. I'm keeping that open for 2 people. You cannot sit there, you are only 1." He then pointed to a seat at the sushi bar that was wedged between 2 parties who had the entire counter occupied by their food and drinks.
The host told me this was the only seat where I could sit. I pointed out there was no space, and there was another seat - 1 of those 2 by the wall, where I would prefer to sit and be comfortable. The host refused, saying he would fill those seats with 2 people instead.
Never have I been discriminated against as a single diner.
The restaurant made it's values clear: they would rather have the $$ from two diners than from 1 and they would configure the seating accordingly. I thanked the host and promptly left.
The host was rude, the restaurant failed to meet my expectations of professionalism and courtesy.
My company is having it's largest annual meeting here this weekend, and I am telling everyone to avoid eating here. I won't ever be returning, even with a larger party, and I strongly do not recommend them.
We plan to go to Joy Sushi, a local sushi restaurant which comes highly recommended by my colleagues and offers a greater variety of food options: on the web, joysushi (dot) net
Simply the best – I travel all over the country for work and I try and find the best sushi restaurants wherever I go. A colleague recommended Sushi Sam's and I have to say that it is by far one of the best (if not THE best) sushi I have ever had. Most places just serve the nigiri by itself and you have the choice of dipping it into your soy sauce and wasabi mix or eating it plain. At Sam's, each piece has it's own sauce already on it and they actually told me to leave the soy sauce in the bottle. Also, their selection of fresh fish is incredible. I had fatty tuna, butterfish, bonito, white sea bass, black sea bass, baby lobster, smoked shrimp, copper river salmon, yellow tail, eel & trout. I sat at the sushi bar and talked to Sam and his chef's and they were extremely helpful. Order the sushi tasting menu and then let them know if there's anything specific you want to try. The service was very good and the waiters seemed to be on top of everything.
Long time local favorite – I have been going to sushi sam's for over 12 yrs......too long to remember exactly how long ago. Anyways, it has always been a local favorite. I am not sure why other people think it has gone down hill. I have to admit you can spend a lot of money to get full if your mostly eating sushi but it is well worth it. The sushi is always fresh and delicious.
Knowing what to order is key to loving Sushi Sam's. First and foremost you have to order the soft shell crab appetizer ( just the crab not the roll ). It is delicious, but you have to know to add all the little ingredients on the side of the plate to the sauce or else it won't be half as good. The sauce is what makes it special. I have yet to come across another japanese restaurant that serves soft shell crab with that sauce.
Next you have to order the sashimi. All of their sashimi is fresh and delicious. I recommend the hamachi. It tastes yummy if you eat it with the shredded radish they serve it with.
As for rolls the hot dog is delicious. It is cooked yellowtail with some yummy pink stuff on top of it. Super sam's special is also a old time favorite. It is a handroll with shrimp tempura, crab salad, rice and sam's special sauce.
They also offer bento boxes which are great if your looking for a great deal during lunch time. I rarely get those because I go here for the fresh sashimi and sushi.
All in all I still love this place from day one. You should like anything you order.
Don't eat here – This is my sushi restaurant, and I'd rather you went somewhere else.
There are plenty of other sushi places in San Mateo you can try.
Sushi 101 - Don't Bother with Sushi Sam's – This place has really gone downhill. Not only is the prices not worth the portions but the sushi looked like it was rolled by a blind child. The nigiri sushi was extremely small and sloppy, while the rolls, which I hoped would be better, were falling apart without even touching them. I still can't get over how much they think they can charge for their portions... A shame, maybe Sam should close temporarily, go back to work for Isobune (which isn't what they were 10 years ago) with his other chef's, re-learn the basics, and then open back up. If you're in that area go somewhere else. There's plenty of other Japanese spots in downtown SM that will exceed your expectations. Try Joy sushi on B street.
It used to be my favorite, not anymore! – I fell in love with this restaurant 10 years ago when I first went there, and I had been a very loyal customer for a good few years. They had generous portion of sushi and sashimi, seafood was fresh, and atmosphere was above average. The staff behind the sushi bar was nice, and I really enjoyed the food they served. A great variety of seafood was available and they were "fresh" (see I used this word twice in this paragraph?) I was a frequent customer of Sam's for some 6 years. Even the wait was long for seating, it was definitely worth-while.
I don't really know what happened to them. Since they added an extension to the original structure, their food quality, serving portion, and service had gone downhill.
Sushi and sashimi cuts/sizes are now smaller, and the rice they serve with sushi is luke warm. This is a big No-No for sushi. Authentic sushi restaurants serve with their sushi below room temperature, including the rice that goes with it. This is to preserve the freshness of the seafood sitting on it (think about raw seafood sitting on warm rice... ummm). However, when I was served warm sushi I was pretty much turned off. The staff is now more busy, since they now have to handle more people without increasing their staff size. Another thing I don't like very much about eating there is that they are now hurrying their customers to leave when there is a long line of people waiting. I was expecting much better service for the money I spent there. And most importantly, the seafood they serve is not always fresh anymore.
There are plenty of Japanese restaurants in San Mateo, with staff that are all Japanese. With better service and more authentic food that can be found elsewhere, I don't know why I should visit that place again... just like all the Japanese friends I know in San Mateo.
Yummy! – They have expanded so more seatings but still have to wait on busy nights - worth it. Their California Special is one of my favorites. The spicy tuna handroll is tasty too. If you don't like sushi, their sukiyaki is one of the best in the Bay Area. Last but not least, their lunch box special with the udon noodle is a must have.
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