Samosa House East has some unusual vegan options that you rarely ever see at Indian restaurants. The place is not without its flaws, but I think it just barely warrants 4 stars in my book.
I had the 3-choice combo plate ($7.99) with brown rice ($0.50) and chapatti ($2). I also had a soy mango lassi ($3). You choose your three dishes based on what’s sitting out there in the buffet (it’s not all you can eat, however). I had the jackfruit curry, barbecue soy chicken, and dal. The jackfruit curry was by far the best of the three: it’s a hearty, creamy dish (never fear; it’s vegan) and jackfruit is a delicacy you rarely see on Indian menus (it’s more common at Nepalese restaurants, for some reason). The barbecue soy chicken was basically large tvp chunks in a liquid-y, spicy tomato sauce. I thought this dish was okay at best; it didn’t seem “Indian” in any way, the tvp chunks were too chewy (higher quality mockmeats, such as those made by Gardein or even Morningstar, would have been much better), and the sauce lacked any subtle flavors. It was too much tomato, really. The dal was okay as well, but fell slightly flat (I think it needed more garlic).
The chapatti was passable. It was a bit too crispy on the edges and also not as soft and fluffy as it should have been.
The soy mango lassi was extremely tasty and nicely done. I wish all Indian restaurants would offer non-dairy alternatives, especially because there are so many to offer these days.
But I do have problems with Samosa House East. For one thing, they don’t consistently label what’s vegan and what’s not. Also, there were at least a couple of dishes that could have easily been made vegan, but they weren’t, which makes me wonder why don’t they just offer more dishes? For example, the curry soy chicken and one of the paneer dishes both could have easily been vegan by making the sauces in each without milk/cream/butter/yogurt, and by using tofu (in the case of the paneer dish).
Also, everything here is served using paper plates, cups and plastic utensils. A lot of it was biodegradable, but in reality, this stuff all ends up in landfills and doesn’t biodegrade (you need the right conditions for compost to be produced). It wouldn’t be that difficult to switch to durable plastic plates and glass cups and metal utensils and would make so many people feel less guilty about eating there.
On a whole, Samosa House East has some stuff going for it. It does have room to improve, though.