Samosa House vs. Samosa House East: An Epic Battle Between Paneer And Fake Chicken
Not that I know much about people who don’t eat meat, but it occurs to me that Culver City is a great place for vegetarians… especially vegetarians that love Indian food. Veggie Indian food is one meatless wonder I can get down with, mainly because South Asians don’t automatically assume that because somebody doesn’t want to eat meat they also don’t want their food to have flavor… and calories. The fact that they get it so tasty without relying on the sweet deliciousness of meat fat is just bonus points. I’m a big fan of India Sweets and Spices (9409 Venice Blvd), but most people will agree that the go-to vegetarian Indian steam table/grocery store combo has got to be Samosa House… and, I guess by transitive property, the glossier Samosa House East- which opened in December just to the (you guessed it) East.
But with only 1.3 miles separating these two incredibly similar locations, pure proximity shouldn’t necessarily decide which one you eat at (unless of course you work at Sony and can just walk across the street to S.H.E.) Sure, those who prefer modern decor will go the East route, while those who prefer the old school feel of the original (plus all the Indian groceries) will go West. But food-wise they are almost identical… save for 2 pretty awesome ingredients.
Most of the food at Samosa House and Samosa House East is practically the same. They both serve a ton of dishes which rotate every single day- including dal, chana masala, saag, soy meatballs, pakora curry, and aloo gobi. $7.99 gets you three choices from the steam table, plus rice, your choice of naan, garlic naan, or chapati, plus raita (yogurt sauce). And all of it’s good. They also have samosas (natch), pakoras, and various other chaat, plus mango lassi, and dessert- although admittedly they do have more desserts at the original Samosa House location. But dessert isn’t what really sets S.H. apart from Samosa House East. It’s what you see at the bottom of this platter…
Paneer! For some reason, Samosa House keeps paneer all to themselves. So if you like Indian cheese, you’ll want to hit up the original location. Not content to accept this lying down, Samosa House East has their own ingredient you can only get at their location…
Veggie chicken! (On the bottom left.) Now, before you roll your eyes and exclaim that the choice between cheese and veggie chicken is no choice at all, I will advise you to try the veggie chicken- because it’s pretty freakin’ awesome. And not because it tastes like actual chicken. (That would be weird… plus if I want to eat strange chicken that is made to look and taste like actual chicken but isn’t really chicken, I’ll just go to McDonald’s.) Their fake chicken is awesome because it just tastes good. It has this great (I really don’t want to use the word toothsome) consistency, and is covered in this butter chicken type sauce that is sweet and creamy and completely delicious. Oh, and just to show you I’m not going soft on you I will add this caveat. Don’t confuse the fake chicken with the fake soy meatballs. Those are not nearly as good IMO. (Some things just shouldn’t be veggified.)
So… this leads us to the ultimate question. Which one is better? Hard to say. I think I’m in love with the buttery sauce the “chicken” comes in, but it would be hard to give up paneer outright. I’m not sure the question will ever be answered definitively… I guess I’ll just have to keep going to both! Lord knows they’re both close enough.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I love me some vegetarian Indian food, and these are two of the best spots in the area
- I love that you get 3 items, plus rice, plus bread, plus yogurt sauce all for under $10
- Samosa House fans love paneer, and eating inside an Indian grocery store. Plus there are more dessert options
- Samosa House Eats fans love the fake chicken, and eating in a more modern restaurant-like setting
- Their naan is fresh baked, and way better than India Sweets & Spices
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Where’s the meat?!
- $9 for meatless Indian fast food? There are cheaper places in the area.
- I work on the other side of town. Samosa House East should have actually been east!
- Portions can vary depending on who scoops your food…
Samosa House, 11510 W Washington Blvd, 310-398-6766
Samosa House East, 10700 Washington Blvd, 310-559-6350