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Samosa's

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Good news - Walking by the old, long out of business Samosas (Walnut Street at Camac) I noticed a sign saying the "New Samosas will be opening soon"!

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  1. This was one of the first vegetarian only Indian restaurants I had eaten at. Years ago, the place was dirt cheap and offered a decent selection at its lunch buffet. Not the most delicious, but after a meal, I felt as though I had eaten some fairly healthy food. (The other Indian restaurant a block away seemed like a much more upscale version for Indian dining while Samosa's was more for everyday affordable fast eating.)

    Then they raised the price for the lunch buffet. Few times later I returned, just to find signs saying that it was closed, to be reopened later. I never did return, as I found great alternatives out here in the western suburbs as well as needing to get my saag paneer fix at Minar Palace when I visited Center City and the nearby locale.

    Hope the reopening goes well, that it stays vegetarian, offers a decent selection of dishes. (If I returned now, I'd have a more educated and worldy palate to critique its food. On my first few visits here years ago, I found the dishes interesting, but they didn't "knock my socks off" as some dishes did at other restaurants that I have commented on. I do recall that their vegetarian soup was plain and unmemorable. I use that word carefully, because the soups I have had (other than coconut soup) at Gateway to India in Frazer, at Royal India and Himalayan in Malvern, and Taste of India in Wayne, have been memorable and out of the ordinary).

    Nothing wrong with common and average tasting food, but when a restaraunt does a great job on some foods, the place and effort are not to be taken for granted. I think many people liked Samosa for its affordability, selection, and dedication to a vegetarian-only selection.

    We Chowhounds who love Indian food look forward to reviews of Samosa when it reopens.

    The only other good news I would have enjoyed reading was, "The New Samosa's will be opening soon. Enjoy Minar Palace, to be reopening across the street, in the mean time!"

    1. I found the food at "old" Samosa almost universally bland. Only went there two or 3 times. Let's hope the new place (different owners and chefs, presumably) kick the spicing and flavors up.

      1. Forget these center city joints. Go to West Philly, that's where the tasty food is at. New Delhi serves up a buffet that forces UPenn alumni to get on on the Acela Express to 30th to fulfill their cravings.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mirajpatel

          I know that many people proclaim New Delhi as the best Indian restaurant in W. Philly. Years ago, I tried the buffets at New Delhi, Tandoor India, and Sitar India. Is the quality still the same at these places from years ago? I remember Tandoor India having a nice dinner buffet selection (the interior had a very aromatic smell which appealed to me ... some of the dishes, like the saag paneer at that time were very oily and didn't sit right with me). The lunch buffet at New Delhi wasn't anything special, and years ago, the aromatic smell in the restaurant didn't strike me as appealing as some of the other restaurants. Probably just a personal preference for certain spices, 'cause I keep on reading of many peoples' recommendation for that place being the best among the three. (Sitar India had a smaller selection for its lunch buffet, but the food looked ok.) How are their soups? (It would be interesting if those folks who like the W. Philly Indian restaurants took the trek out to the western suburbs and tried the well-known names out here for their lunch buffet, so as to do a comparison with the W. Philly ones. I know it's a long drive, but if you have extra time, a few extra bucks, and want to feast, I'd say you will not be disappointed.)

          1. re: FelafelBoy

            I've mentioned this several times, and still haven't found the information I'm looking for:

            Over the years, friends have almost universally loved New Delhi and dissed Tandoor India. While I find the folks at Tandoor to be cold at best, I like the taste of their food, and there's a distinctive taste to the dishes at New Delhi which, like FelafelBoy, I find distinctly unappealing. While Tandoor's food is probably richer, which I can understand some like and some don't, New Delhi is not simly spicier. There are firey dishes in some restaurants, like vindaloo, that almost never do it for me, and others who's fire bring tears of joy to my eyes. It seems in some dishes the hot enhances the taste, while some types of hot disable the tastebuds and blot out the taste. New Delhi is somewhere in between, leaving a taste that simply doesn't appeal to me.

            Can anyond define the spices, regional differences, or style of cooking, perhaps, that distinguishes New Delhi?

            Looking to further my Indian education... I'm sure some folks must have a language to describe these differences, the way wine connoisseurs can communicate with an understanding of exactly what each other is talking about.

            1. re: photorc

              Certainly some students at U of Penn originally from India, can help us out here!!

              What amazes me, too, is that as soon as you walk into such a restaurant, you get hit with the aromas. They either agree with you, do not, or go by you unregistered. The first few times I walked into Taste of India in Wayne, I was left speechless for awhile. Now I'm more jaded to the experience, so I take the smells more for granted. The aroma I got at ND struck me as the smell of someone cooking with various oils, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, just some smell of frying food. Many years ago when entering TI, I recall the smell was more appealing. I'd call my reaction to the smells in terms of comfort - warming, relaxing, pleasing, satisfying. Other people's reaction might be the opposite. One's preference for various spices and the degree to which they are used and mixed is obviously subjective and unique to each person's constitution (looke into the Ayurveda for more explanation on this topic!).

        2. OK, saw an ad in the Weekly for the New Samosa and thought I'd pass on the info. Looks intriguing but has the possibility of being very very good or very mediocre:

          "Multicultural Vegetarian Restaurant" opening Feb 16

          * Indian, Carribean, Italian, Chinese
          * Serving Dosa, Idli, and Wada

          So, looks South Indian focus, but with Carribean, Italian, and Chinese (?).
          Idli and Wada seem to be snack-oriented items (thank you Wikipedia) but I guess they are part of the lunch/dinner buffet.

          Oh, for those who are new and need addresses to be happy, it's 1214 Walnut.

          4 Replies
          1. re: JugglerDave

            I'll hold my tongue until I taste. Old Samosa was bland and forgettable. Gateway to India next door is crap. New place on 9th and Chestnut has yet to open, even after months of construction. Looking forward to Minar Palace and meanwhile enjoying the hell out of Tiffin.

            1. re: Smellchipper

              smellchipper - do you not mean "Passage to India" next door to Samosa, rather than "Gateway to India?" There is a "Gateway to India" in Frazer, PA, that offers a very decent lunch buffet, a beautiful presentation, and quality food. I didn't want that place to be misrepresented!

              I've never eaten at Passage to India.

              "Multicultural vegetarian" sounds exciting. Years ago, "Govinda's", a restaurant run by a branch of the Hare Krishna's in Philadelphia, did something similar, while focusing primarily on vegetarian Indian. The food was very tasty. The new "Govinda's", located on a different block of South Street, is much more upscale, and does more of an international and vegetarian fare, minimizing the focus on Indian food. I do look forward to them opening up a restaurant more similar to the older Govinda's for those of us who don't necessarily prefer the upscale ambience and emphasis away from Indian vegetarian food.

              Most people would recognize "wada" as spelled and pronounced as "vada", a deep fried doughnut looking flour product typically eaten with dosas. Ditto with the idli.

              1. re: FelafelBoy

                Passage, gateway, whatev. Food sucks. On Friday nights they have live piano music. My wife and I watched a very lonely and intoxicated woman throw herself at the piano man with phrases like "oh your fingers are so nimble" "are you french?" and so forth. My wife was facing them so she got to enjoy the whole spectacle. Anyway the food there is quite bad. Been two years so I can't elaborate.

                1. re: FelafelBoy

                  Correction on my last post - the hour of the morning must have deep fried my neurons. I meant to say that the vada, idlis, and dosas are typically eaten with sambar.

            2. 20 inch dosas! Went tonight and was much dosafied and happified. Big old dosa for $6 with sambar and chutney. Dosa was far better (and bigger) than Udippi Dosa House and Tandoor Dosa & Grill. Maybe the buffet is good too.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Smellchipper

                Can you tell me where this place with the 20"dosas is located? I live in C. City Philly and am dying for good South Indian food that's close by.

                1. re: Lotus7

                  Walnut btwn 12th and 13th

              2. Delicious! The Bride and I went to the dinner buffet this evening. We looked at the menu and at the buffet and decided to go for the buffet. There were about 6 or 8 Indian entrees, some sort of chinese lo-mein ish noodle dish, and a lone "italian" pasta/tomato/cheese dish. The cold bar had at least 4 chutneys including a tasty coconut chutney, salad, raita, kheer, and slices of cake (cheesecake?).

                The hot entrees seemed to be an equal mix of northern and southern Indian styles. The aloo (cauliflower) had a cream sauce with coconut. saag was good, eggplant, peas, and sambar -- all good.

                This night there were mini masala dosas included at the buffet, but the crepe had dried out a bit from being on the steam tray.

                Apparently the owner is from British Guiana, the cook is South Indian, and they aim to do a mix of northern and southern Indian with "a little Carribean" tossed in, although I couldn't discern what part of the cooking or spicing was Carribean other than a nice bit of hot spiciness in the dishes.

                My only disappointment was the kheer - it had raisins and cinnamon in addition to the traditional nuts, and I couldn't taste any rosewater, a little too much like standard rice pudding. The salted lassi I had was maybe just a touch too salty.

                We will definitely be back. The Bride pronounced the spicing better (and different) than the West Philly places. At $8.99 for dinner, a good bargain for center city, and it is all vegetarian food.

                4 Replies
                1. re: JugglerDave

                  with all the posts, i'm confused- which restaurant did you go to? the new samosa, right?

                  1. re: kd592

                    Yes, "New Samosa" opened up a week ago where the old "Samosa's" was -- Walnut St. between 12th and 13th.

                    1. re: JugglerDave

                      went there last night, and had the butter dosa. it was delicious. coconut chutney and sambar were great as well. i absolutely love s.indian food so hope this place sticks around. i'll be going back...probably within a few days!

                      1. re: Lotus7

                        I concur about the butter dosa. Also had the rava onion dosa or some such thing which was everything it should be and more. The unfilled dosas don't seem like they'd be a full meal, so I've been sticking with the ones that are filled. Far better dosas then udippi or tandoor dosa.

                2. I went to New Samosa today for the first time and I have to say I was totally disappointed. As a previous poster stated there was little spice or flavor in the dishes. Some of the items were cold, that should have been warm and the salad items were not truly fresh. I won't be going back there anytime soon.