Judging a Book by its Buffet at San Samosa
San Samosa was not one of the places that I walk by and thought, “I have a good feeling about this place.” I think it may have been the fact that I never saw anyone in there. So when I decided to bite the bullet and try the food to stop judging this book by its cover, I was really surprised at the steady stream of traffic. So there I was with my fellow diners, ready to hit up the $7.99 all you can eat buffet. I have to admit, I was a little scared. The sparse setting could be an indicator of food that is sparse as well.
A quick survey of the buffet selection alleviated my fears somewhat. There were veggie options, plus chicken, goat, rice, and toppings such as chutney and raita. There were also ingredients to make a plain old salad.
I started with a samosa, a piece of tandoori chicken, goat curry, butter chicken, and veggie korma. The samosa was not at all authentic, but for some reason I really liked the fried thin pastry and mild innards. Like the samosas, pieces of tandoori chicken can be found under a heat lamp. This was not great. I was excepting dried out chicken and thats what I got. I appreciate the offering of goat on the buffet menu, though it was a little strong on the goat gamey flavor for me. More to my liking was the tender, flavorful butter chicken and vegetable korma. Those I would get again.
For round two, it was saag panner (creamy spinach with cheese), papri chaat (fried crackers in yogurt sauce), chickpea dal along with papadums (crispy crackers) and naan (soft bread) to soak up the chutney and plum sauce. Saag paneer? More like… sad paneer… or gag paneer? Really, this was not a good version of a dish I love so much. How did they get it so wrong? I was happy to see chaat by the salad bar, that is not something always offered on Indian menus, but since it wasn’t being made fresh the yogurt sauce made the crispy bits too soggy. The chickpeas and the breads were the better bites on my plate.
For my dessert plate, carrot halva, kheer (rosewater rice pudding), fruit, and… another somosa.
This is no Palace at the Ben. So while there were a lot of misses, with a little bit of foresight you could get a decent meal here and eat as much as you want for $8. Stick with the samosas, chicken, korma, breads and play it safe with the salad bar.
A regular menu is available to order from, which besides the usual has soy imitation meat and dosas. You can also do take out of the buffet items.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I can do some damage at an all you can eat
- They cover all the basics
- My water was refilled and my finished platea were taken away at the appropriate time
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- This is really not authentic
- Some of the dishes don’t even taste good
- Only white rice is offered
San Samosa, 1214 Walnut Ave (@ 13th St), 215 545 2009