...Actually pretty good.
Well... at least it's much, much, much better than I expected it to be...
I'll preface this by reiterating; I like Samosa House, but it's a pretty pale shadow of Mumbai home cooking, or any good solid Pioneer Blvd. establishment. That said, it's generally as good as we can get on this side of town. Their menu is sort-of Indian-by-way-of-Leicester-if-your-clientelle-was-primarily-vegan. And for all that, it's pretty tasty.
But, they don't tend to come through with anything too terribly authentic or unfamiliar to a Western palate. The chaat can be pretty good, but they don't source anything too unusual anymore (black chhole, sprouted moong dal, karela... and so on, all used to feature more regularly). So, if I wanted a decent Gujerati Thali I would go to Artesia... every time.
But, about a month ago I noticed that there was a new, small, set of steam trays bejing the cashier, and I asked about it. At that time, there was no signage advertising anything new, so I assumed the steam trays weren't hooked up yet...
I asked what they were for, and the slightly addled cashier said they were going to try out a new Gujerati thali for 8.99. In the interest of variety I ordered one. It took about ten minutes to find somebody who knew how to assemble it for me, then another ten for them to track down and fry the bhatura and warm up the Gajar Halwa.
In the end, what I was served looked, and smelled entirely different than anything I've come to expect from Samosa House. It was distinctly Gujerati. Oily, sweet, salty, and hot. It featured a terrific soup, excelent sprouted daal, two complex, sweet, spicy varieties of shaak, and the aforementioned bhatura and halwa.
Much, much better then expected.
Is it the sort of thing that kills the craving for a trip to Mumbai? No. But it might save you a trip to Artesia.
I've opted for the Gujerati thali three times this month. Each time it was different, and each time it was good... and certainly much more authentic than anything else available on this side of town.
11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA