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“Every time, at least an hour wait” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Sesame - CLOSED

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Sesame
3940 Lake Tahoe Blvd.#2, CA
530 544-4392
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Cuisines: Chinese
Restaurant details
Sacramento, California, USA
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
“Every time, at least an hour wait”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2009

This is your standard sushi place (despite a long ago write-up in the New York Times) yet for some reason, there is always a line. Two weeks ago, the estimated wait for a table of two was 1.5 hours. Last night, we tried to get in early (5:30), and the estimated wait was 1 hour. Frankly, the sushi in the supermarket in the same strip mall isn't much less tasty than what you get here.

    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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4 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
san francisco
1 review
“What?! New Ownership?!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2008

I recently made a trip back to South Tahoe and was excited to eat at my favorite Chinese restaurant but I was very disappointed to find out that the restaurant (restaurant name included) was sold in March of 2006 to another Chinese couple.

I used to be a South Tahoe local and often frequented Sesame when it was owned by a gracious Chinese couple (the husband was the cook and the wife took care of the front). The food was incredible and the service was quite pleasant! For a small restaurant that catered to people on the go, I was very surprised by the freshness and taste of their dishes. While I had many favorites, I was in love with their sesame chicken. Just perfectly sweet, golden and crispy! This place was very popular with the locals and got quite busy during the holiday tourist season.

The food now is pretty average. Even though the restaurant interior hasn't changed much, it lacks the charm that it once used to have. I wonder where the original owners decided to open up their new business.

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Sacramento
1 review
“The worst place for Chinese food”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2007

We had a terrible experience with this restaurant on our family trip to South Lake Tahoe on Aug 26, 2007. First, the food was very "non-Chinese". Fry vegetables were prepared with no seasoning. Lemon chicken was served in dry pieces of fry chicken with two small cups of lemon sauce that tasted like from a cheap Asia supermarket. They didn't even bother to pure the sauce on top. We also ordered a soup, full of MSG.

Service wise, it's even worse. The front lady yielded at dine-in customers who asked if they could get some water with the food. "No service of water! Go across the street to buy your own water!" This was the first time I had ever seen a restaurant that refused to server water to customers (even after you requested it). They never served water. Odd?

They also charge 25 cent if you use credit card.

A bowl of rice costs a dollar. Rice and one-entree plate costs $5.75. I considered it's overly expensive given how little on the plate.

The food was cooked fresh, which was the only thing I'd give it a plus. But can't you find a place to have a hot meal elsewhere in the town?

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South Lake Tahoe, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Best Chinese Restaurant in Tahoe”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2006

As a Tahoe local, I remember when Sesame opened but I never found my way there until a few days ago. What a pity. I could have been eating there all this time!

The place doesn't look like much. It's very small, with only a few tables, and looks more like a fast-food place than a sit-down restaurant. Most customers apparently get takeout rather than eat there. But don't let that fool you. This place has the BEST Chinese food in Tahoe. By far!

I like Chinese and have eaten at every other Chinese place in Tahoe over the years. All decent, but the food at Sesame is a cut above. Maybe it's because the place has only two employees - who are also the owners. A cute, tiny, very friendly Chinese lady works the front and her husband, the chef, prepares the food.

Let me tell you about the fried rice. I have never eaten such light, fluffy, delicious fried rice in my life. It comes with substantial chunks of moist chicken, too. I got the combination plate with fried rice and one entree, sesame chicken. This was an incredible dish of chicken chunks dipped in feather-light tempura batter and fried, then glazed with a honey-colored glaze that had a pleasantly spicy (but not too spicy) warmth to it. And sesame seeds scattered on top.

I also had the mixed vegetable entree on another occasion, and was pleasantly surprised by the freshness of the vegetables. They were so green and bright, they looked almost alive. The sauce could have had a bit more kick, but the veggies themselves were first class - whole tiny brown mushrooms, whole snow pea pods, celery, water chestnuts, zucchini and carrots.

On the wall is a menu with somewhat limited choices - for the combo platters, I think. But there is a lot more to the menu. Grab one of the yellow takeout menus and order from that. They can make anything you ask for, in minutes. A man sitting near me had their salmon in garlic sauce and raved about how tasty it was. Sesame uses sushi-grade salmon, not the cheap stuff.

Nothing on the menu is terribly expensive. Costliest item is 13.95. They also offer a couple of group meals for 4 or more people, which seem to be a good deal.

Yes, the plates are styrofoam, the forks are plastic, and service is bus-it-yourself. But the food here has to be tasted to be believed. Try it - you won't be sorry.

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