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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Samosa House: Vegetarian Indian at Great Value

I've had some pretty great eats lately, but nothing excites me more than a cheap find that's delicious and easy on the wallet. What's not to like? Welcome to Samosa House in Culver City.

My dining partner and I went here as a backup plan but thank god the other restaurant was overbooked! It's a vegetarian/vegan joint but as long as you avoid the fake meat and fish items, it's pretty good, especially for that money. We got the $7.99 combo special, which includes a choice of any three mains, rice (brown or white), raita, the yummy yogurt with veggies, and naan (plain or garlic).

If that isn't the greatest deal on earth, not sure what is. Ok, I considered my other Indian fare fave, Hurry Curry on Venice, that has a great $12.99 special for two that includes two meat entrees, plus four veggie entrees, rice for two and naan for two.

My favorites were cauliflower that had a sauce like that of tikka masala, potato curry and the jackfruit that was recommended on message boards. The jackfruit had a very interesting texture like that of shredded chicken (it really did almost taste like chicken). The eggplant and spinach dishes were all on mild side.

Both the white and brown basmati rice were freshly made and fluffy and the garlic naan was well-made and tasted as if fresh from the oven.

One thing we noticed was that the restaurant seems to use less ghee or oil when cooking, which made the usually fairly heavy Indian fare lighter and a tad more guilt-free. But we liked that it did it in a way that didn't seem to compromise on flavor.

The place's namesake, the samosas, were very good -- piping hot, super crispy with a delicious potato filling. Dab some of that cilantro chutney over it for some kick and you have one of my favorite snacks/appetizers in the world.

The sitting area was a lot cleaner and nicer than Hurry Curry minus the massive flat screens blazing Bollywood movies.

The place also doubles as a market for Indian spices and chutneys in a jar. It's a great place to browse if you're early for a lunch meeting. Depending on how ambitious a cook you are, you can pick up ready-made curries and sauces or get all the raw spices if you want to make it from scratch. If nothing else you can pick up some affordable cardamom seeds to grind into your chai.

I will definitely return to Samosa House as a go-to place for well-made and affordable Indian food. It's quick, it's cheap and it's good.

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