Restaurant of the Week: Sam’s Unique Diner

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Sam’s Unique Diner, 4721 Chino Hills Parkway (at Monte Vista), Chino Hills

Don’t let the name fool you: Sam’s Unique Diner is not a hash house with a waitress named Flo but rather a Chinese restaurant, and a stylish one. It opened in the Commons shopping center a few weeks ago.

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The entry looks like a hotel and the dining room has a chandelier.

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I was there for a group lunch recently and ordered off the lunch menu, not dissimilar from that of many Chinese restaurants. I got the most exotic sounding item, twice cooked pork ($8, below), and liked it. But the restaurant, I could tell, was better than the orange chicken, kung pao chicken and other standbys on the lunch menu.

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So I returned for a weekend lunch with a friend. We had westlake beef soup ($11, not pictured); yam with blueberries ($10, below); beef with cumin ($14, second photo below); and fish filet with vegetables ($11, third photo below).

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The yam item was the only one we thought was just okay. The white yams had a taste like jicama. Pleasant, but dull.

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I love cumin dishes and beef with cumin did not disappoint. The soup was good as well and we liked the light, moist tilapia in the fish filet.

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The expansive restaurant has private dining rooms and a covered patio for groups. It’s said to have Sichuan, Cantonese and Shanghai-style cuisine.┬áChino Hills has a number of authentic Chinese restaurants and Sam’s is among the best, and in what may be the most spectacular restaurant setting in the city.

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