Two longtime regular Samosa House customers.
Two combinations from Samosa House, two from Bawarchi, and one Papri Chaat from each.
Let it be noted, neither of the diners were really Samosa House partisans. We each made regular pilgrimages to Artesia before having kids (still young toddlers). Samosa House is simply the most convenient and consistent option that has been available in our price range on the west side of town.
Here are the deciding factors that have influenced our decision.
Distance: Samosa house 4 miles, Bawarchi 4.5 miles. Essentially a draw, but Samosa House has easier parking.
Environment: really a non-issue as we usually have take-out. But Bawarchi is a clear winner when judged on design, comfort, and general cleanliness (even their dine-in serving-ware seems up market). It has to be noted that Samosa House somehow feels "right" dispite the low-rent nature of the environment, whereas Bawarchi seems almost unjustifiably posh given their reasonable prices. Advantage... probably Bawarchi.
Price: Pennies different. Draw.
Chaat: This was the greatest contrast between the two establishments. Samosa House used to (about two years ago) source their ingredients much better preparing their papri chaat with kala chana (black chick peas) and thin sev as well as their home made chutneys and yogurt. Today the recipe has been simplified, and the more esoteric ingredients have been dropped, but it's still quite tasty. Bawachi, sadly, takes the Samosa House recipe and simplifies it further, resulting in a less balanced, less satisfying option. Would we prefer Surati Farsan Mart or Jay Bharat? Are you kidding? But, between the two local options Samosa House is the clear winner.
Combo Plates: Very tough decision here. In many ways this is an impossible call to make. Options change daily in both establishments, and the items that are always avaiable like jack fruit and chana were all but identical. No. Really. Blind tasting identical. No joke. Same recipe. Really. As to variable options we had Mirchi Saalam from both places... Samosa house was spicier and sweeter, Bawarchi was smokier, and thinner. We had Soy Tikka Masala from both, Bawarchi was oilier and hotter, Samosa House was denser and sweeter. We had Malai Kofta, which was a stark contrast, totally different recipe: Samosa House was a corn cake in sweet cream sauce, and Bawarchi was a soy meatball in sour cream sauce. On the whole, if you like sweet and rich sauces Samosa House is your destination, and if you like sharp and thin sauces Bawarchi is preferable. Even though Barwachi has roughly twice the number of options available we generally preferred Samosa House.
Bells and whistles: Bawarchi has Pilau rice at no extra charge... but it isn't very good. Bawarchi has naan... but it's overworked, dried out, and simply awful (Samosa House will apparently also have naan by the end of the week). Bawarchi has salad. Samosa House has vastly better raita... and both now have equally bad papadum. Both have dried out chapati.
Conclusion: Is it worth picking favorites? I'd probably pick the closer based on geographic location and leave it at that. Generally, I honestly preferred Samosa House, and didn't see enough distinction between the two to make much fuss about. If I were going on a cheap date I'd probably go with Bawarchi as it's prettier... but beyond that there's not much to distinguish it... As soon as the kids get old enough we'll probably go back to making the crosstown pilgrimage anyway.
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