SAM'S SEAFOOD is back.
This place is so incredible its hard to put it into words.
This place is like a Tiki Wonka Factory.
Forget the Tonga Room! Sam's is now the undisputed king of Tiki. Because its a new kind of tiki. Undead tiki!
About two years ago Sam's Seafood of Huntington Beach quietly closed its doors forever. The land was sold with the sole purpose of building condos.
A Southern California Tiki mainstay had vanished just like many before it. Just like Kelbos (near the 405 freeway and Pico Blvd) Sam's was quietly shuttered to await the inevitable wrecking ball. Kelbos sadly suffered a fate worse than demolition. It became a low rent "Gentleman's Club" .
Just another Tiki memory.
Then suddenly 44 days ago the doors silently swung open. As if the world turned black and white and Rod's voice-over did a nice foreshadowing monologue on what fate will befall you if you enter. Was it an IRS trap? Did I bang my head and travel back in time? Is my life now in re-runs?
Sam's is open.
Magick Films decided to take a trip down to Sam's to see if it was "open open" or just open to make money while the permits for the condos get worked out. We were in for more than we had hoped or even wished for.
Sam's is back and in grand fashion.
Sporting a new menu with not just edible food but great food. Tiki places are never known for there great food and the old Sam's was no exception. This new menu is outstanding fun fare to enjoy while you drink you booze. I had the Brie and mango Quesadillas while our fearless director
had "The burger" and Ricky had some sort of tiki-meat on a stick.
After a couple of navy grogs and a zombie or two we were treated to the a very special surprise. Magick Films own personal tour of this crazy Tiki Palace.
But before I tell you about that lemme tell ya what was going last night at Sam's.
They held their pre-grand opening celebration with the release of two commemorative tiki mugs. The artist Sam Gambino was there to sign the mugs and the same people you see in all the tiki event photos had a wonderful time. We would have been there too if it wasn't for those damn onion rings (and booze) from Bahooka and the Tiki Ti cocktails we had after shopping for blow fish.
The Tikiphiles that were at Sam's last night were able to enjoy the ambiance of the bar and the main dining area but they never got to see the two super secret rooms that are being created just behind the dining room.
I was impressed with the restaurant before the tour, but after, I am in awe. This is the best tiki place I have ever seen. Believe me when I say this; The Tonga Room Ain't got nothin' on Sam's.
This is the end all be all of tiki.
I took pictures of one of there rooms that is actually looks larger than the main dining room.
This huge room has a 3 great fountains plus the original dance floor. Not a new dance floor but the original damn dance floor.
The dance floor is in front of this great Tiki mural.
So they have a nice tiki-vibe going on in this room. They really did a lot of work in this room and my pictures do not do it justice. But the one thing I didn't take a picture of in this room is the french doors that run almost the entire length of the west wall. On the other side of those doors is the most amazing tikiroom I have ever seen.
The other room is so amazing I actually neglected to take pictures because I was so stunned. Mouth agape I stared at a room so stunning I can only say it is better than anything you could find at Disneyland. If you took the tikiroom and combined it with the lighting and effects of the Blue Bayou you wont come close to what is happening here. Within this sunken room are hand carved Tiki's and a huge H.U.G.E. rock waterfall complete with hidden tiki faces in the rock. Hand crafted thatched awnings and the largest glass fishing floats in California will hang high above this tiki oasis. Its like its own Quite Village.
After viewing the incomplete but still stunning room were were able to get a peak downstairs.
We were lead thru the kitchen and down a staircase with a very low ceiling into a concrete hallway. This hallway was once part of an elaborate tunnel system built during prohibition. This tunnel allowed rum runners to smuggle rum from the beach under the Pacific Coast Highway into Sam's. The tunnel has been blocked off but you can clearly see this was a secret passage. There are several rooms downstairs filed with tiki furniture, decorations and wall coverings. These rooms looked like they were dug out and used for booze storage. To me it looked like two big storage rooms for booze and a third for money. The last room has a small hallway leading to nowhere. This hallway looks like an escape tunnel. We spied some old fake flower arrangements down there that looked awfully familiar. Who knows when these were made but they were clearly fashioned the same as the singing flowers in Disneyland's Enchanted Tikiroom.
Back up top we were shown the smoking patio.
This was a closet. A CLOSET!
The windows were there but had been boarded up for quite some time. The new manager took out all the junk and tore down the boards to make this great patio area. Picture are a little dark but you get the idea. A nice little salvage job are the two large tables under the windows. They are two of the old doors from the rum runner tunnel downstairs.
Leading to the patio is yet another bar area that has been nicely art directed.
This picture is... not so great but imagine this area vary dark with each of those votive candles lit. Each one of those twisted branches is about a foot away from the wall behind them and there is a nice warm glow coming up from behind the bench. Its creates a very natural and cozy place to chat.
In fact the whole place is filled with little cozy places to chat and booze up.
Sam's will stay around as long as the business is good. If you get a chance to visit them I promise you'll be hooked. I cant get enough of this place and when those other rooms open up it'll be mind blowing. The two top secret rooms open in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!
During the tour I was actually bouncing around the idea of moving. Perhaps a place closer to this restaurant.
You must visit Sam's seafood. They are having a Grand Opening on the 16th so that would be a good time to go and see this great Tiki restaurant.
Sam's Seafood Restaurant
16278 South Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, California 92649