Samosa House: You Get What You Pay For.

I used to think this place was the holy-grail of vegan grub before I became schooled through actual authentic Indian cuisine (Paru’s, Agra Cafe, Taste of India in Buttonwillow…I know, you’re probably wondering, “Buttonwillow?”). Nevertheless, Samosa House lives up to its reputation: a ton of vegan “indian” food at dirt-cheap prices.

I’ve been to two of the locations (Silver Lake and El Segundo) and the quality of the food is about the same, though the El Segundo location seems to offer more options (maybe because it’s a bigger space, under my observation at least).

Things worth trying:

Potato anything. I have tried both the Baingan Eggplant and Aloo Gobi and the potatoes in them are the deal-sealers. My favorite offerings undoubtedly.

Smoked Jackfruit: I am not even that big of a jackfruit fan, but Samosa House does it right with whatever spices they throw into the mix; smoked, chunky and in a thick curry paste (plus points in my book); this is one of the best offerings at Samosa House and it earns its reputation among the most popular sides.

Smoked Cauliflower: I love, love, LOVE this cruciferous delight (I probably only love potatoes slightly more); steamed, curried, smoked, fried; give them to me and I’ll put them in my mouth one-after- another: the Smoked Cauliflower at Samosa House is no exception; generous chunks of smoked- cauliflower in spices, with just a little bit of that kick that makes for slightly spicy but still edible for this spicy-sensitive foodie: perfecto.

Now, things worth skipping:

Anything with soy-beef or tofu. I love myself some faux-meats, but Samosa House misses the mark on theirs by a long shot. Some examples…

Soy BBQ Beef: watery and chewy, so chewy that all you can focus on is how much you’re chewing so taking in the flavors and sauciness of it becomes impossible; you become that distracted by how much chewing goes into every bite. That noted, this side is ultimately not very flavorful and the chewiness gives it a rubbery consistency. Pass.

Tofu Tikka Masala: I love, love, love anything with the word Masala in it. Ever since my first memory at an Indian restaurant, I remember Masala sauce going hand-in-hand with Indian cuisine…well…Samosa House definitely misses the mark on this authentic Indian staple as well. And it’s not just the tofu (it was steamed and flavorless), but the Masala sauce itself doesn’t have that kick, that special blend of spices, that secret ingredient that makes it resonate in the ranks of Indian Masala sauce. Pass.

Baingan Bharta: way too much tomato action going on here; from the sauce to the tomatoey-sweetness of it, it tastes more like watery marinara than an Indian curry dish; there is an uneven ratio of tomato-eggplant that results ruinous to this dish. A definite pass.

Daal:

Do I really need to go into details with this particular dish? Soupy galore, except no one ordered soup…

As for the combination plates…

I am not one with a monstrous appetite (ever) so I am usually fine with two or three of the “hot food on the side” eight ounce containers; I wouldn’t recommend the combo nation item platters. Sure, you get more variety, but not for much  than had you ordered three eight-ounce sides, which give you more by the ounce, and you ultimately aren’t stuck with an over-abundance of brown rice, which is the end-result of the combination plates; tons and tons of rice and about three ounces worth of the main sides; not a good deal especially since the naan bread is not vegan so it has to be skipped at check-out. Sadness…sadness all around…

So yea, Samosa House; a great place to go if you’re on a budget and have bending standards towards the authenticity of your vegan-Indian faire. Not a bad place, not a great one.

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