• Samosa House > Bawarchi

    December 24th, 2009mr meanerbawarchi, LA restaurants, samosa house

    The plethora of vegetarian Indian kitchens in and around Culver City is a wonderful thing. I’m often known to leave work and head to Father’s Office for a Pliny The Elder or two before hitting up Samosa House (both locations) or Bawarchi for a box full of great value meatless Indian food to take home and eat in front of the TV.

    samosa house

    Frankly, the original Samosa House (which has been in Culver City for over 30 years) is quite a trek for me, and has had an historically spotty reputation for the taste of its food and quantities served. But perhaps due to competition from the newer Indian kitchens, or even the shitty blog post I wrote back in October 2008, Samosa House has transformed itself into a paragon of scrumptious food, value and excellent service. The staff are friendly and helpful when asked about vegan items, and take pride in piling your food choices into the containers with a smile. They always have a vegan bread, tasty rice and have recently added things like veggie burgers, dosas and rotating specials just to spice things up a little.

    bawarchi in culver city

    Lately, though, I’ve found myself going to Bawarchi more than Samosa House purely because it’s a couple of miles closer and (crucially!) east of the 405, meaning that I can get there much faster from where I live and work. I’d been bitten by the Bawarchi spell: closer location, exact same food offerings, smiling staff and great service that I began to wonder why I’d ever have an excuse to visit Samosa House again. Until, that is, a couple of weeks ago when I found myself running an errand closer to Samosa House so I popped in, just like the old days, and ordered a couple of combination meals to go.

    When I got home and opened up the meals, I realized that I was getting far, far more for my money at Samosa House than I was at Barwarchi. More curry, more bread, less rice (making room for more curry!), less raita (non-vegan stuff Bawarchi always manages to sneak into the bag) and the food was, frankly, better. It wasn’t as dry, tasted much fresher and had a fuller flavor without being overly saturated with spice.

    samosa house dinner combo!


    bawarchi dinner combo!

    Just to be sure, I went back to Bawarchi a couple of days ago and ordered my usual – the exact same dishes at the same price as Samosa House. This time, though, I watched the friendly bearded gentleman behind the counter spoon my food in. He was unbelievably diligent in ensuring that he put the absolute minimum of food in each compartment (except for the rice, of course, which filled 80% of the large compartment). At one point, he actually TOOK OUT some jackfruit that he put in, while all the time talking to me so I’m distracted from his hand action like the victim of some Victorian illusionist.

    bawarchi dinner combo!


    samosa house dinner combo!

    The lentil dal was probably the worst example – he put so little in the box that it only filled one regular shot glass!

    WTF, bawarchi?! ...really?

    Of course, cramming a box with rice (factually, the world’s least expensive food crop) and 25-30% less food than one’s competitors goes straight to the bottom line – and in today’s economy, who doesn’t want to keep costs under control? Exactly.

    I continued to watch him serve a couple of other customers, and I seriously think this guy has a Ph.D. in “food service cost control”: Measly portions, lots of rice and some clever slight of hand lead me to dismiss Bawarchi as a cost-driven business dealing in bait and switch techniques to the uninitiated.

    I’m going to avoid Bawarchi for a while — until they improve the portions and put their customers first. and if, like me, you’ve dumped Samosa House for Bawarchi, try switching back for a while and see the difference. I promise you, it’s worth the extra 1.65 miles however you cut it.

    stick to the samosa house

    Samosa House
    11510 W Washington Blvd.
    Culver City, CA 90066

    10408 Venice Blvd
    Culver City, CA 90232
    (310) 836-8525

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16 responses to “Samosa House > Bawarchi” RSS icon

  • Sad to say that I agree with every word of this. The food at Samosa House is way better value and has much more taste. It’s obvious that Bawarchi has a policy of putting in small portions, as I’ve seen them do on many occasions. Go to Samosa House instead.

  • my b/f and I went to barachi a couple of times becuase its closer to where we live but we always go back to samosa house now as the food is better and the portions much much bigger.

  • Have to try Samosa House (both the original and East). Was excited to go to Barachi for the 1st time: portions were small, food wasn’t all that good and didn’t taste quite “right,” the guy behind the counter definitely pulls some mind trick type tricks by talking non-stop and mentioning other things while you’re trying to order and, another employee moved us (there were 2 of us) out of a 4 person table to a 2 person in the corner. Now, I can understand this while it’s busy, but there was no one else there and only 1 other couple came in while we were eating. Guy was rude about it, as well. Probably will not return, which stinks since it’s very close to my office and on my way home.

  • This is a really nice and fair side-by-side comparison.

  • Samosa House is so superior, I went to Bawarchi once and will never be back. What is vegan/vegetarian there is way too confusing.

  • the shot glass is an instant classic!!! genius!

  • I agree. Samosa House all the way for me.

  • I am a regular at Bawarchi and before that I was regular at Samosa House. The reason I am at Bawarchi is because the chef left Samosa House to have his own place, there is no way you can have a restaurant serving the same food without the original chef. That also explains Samosa House competing with themselves by opening another joint just a mile next to their first.
    Now as far as portions are concerned. The Samosa House box is smaller, I got an order and I took images as well. I am not sure how I can post them here. What I read here is completely biased, looks like complete slander of their old employee and their new competitor.

  • @piyush: your arguments are meaningless. See my responses:

    1. At any restaurant, the chef invents recipes and teaches a kitchen staff how to cook them, which they’re able to do that just fine in the chef’s absence. Also, there are a few good Indian chefs in Los Angeles who I’m sure will be willing to pick up the rains at Samosa House, if one hasn’t already.

    2. I would imagine that Samosa House are competing with Bawarchi, not themselves by opening a location closer to Bawarchi (it’s actually closet to two miles from the original Samosa House).

    3. You are mistaken about the size of the boxes. They are the exact same three-compartment container from the same manufacturer. Feel free to post your evidence (send an email to the contact form on the blog, and we’ll even compare your pictures with our own).

    4. I don’t see that anybody is being slandered in this article, or that it is biased against any former employee of Samosa House. I know what I saw and experienced, I have photographic evidence and the comments above show that I’m not alone.

    I wonder what your affiliation to Bawarchi might be?

  • What about India Sweets & Spices‎ on venice? I heard that place was good too.

  • i hate places that are trying to cut costs with no respect for the customer and cheating on food and sizes. vegan doesn’t mean dumb. love from an italian veggie! :*

  • Finally tried both Samosa House and SH East. Both were far better than Barachi. SH East is SUPERB. Worth going a little out of the way to hit. SH East may be the best Indian I’ve ever had (although I am partial to the gluttony of a lunch buffet).
    I’d be interested in hearing about India Sweet and Spices; I go to Govinda’s often and have often thought of stopping there, instead.

    Piyush- your statement is actually pretty illogical and I can’t figure out where the “it explains why they’re competing with themselves” comment comes from or even means. And since this is a foodie blog, and not a blog written by restaurants themselves, I’d say you’re pretty far off base. I’m ALSO guessing you either work at Barachi or know someone who does.

  • Hi everyone,

    Only to state facts as I have spoken with the chef on this particular matter: He did admit to serving lesser portions but he claimed that unlike all or most other indian restaurants, the ingredients as well as the base oil used (olive oil vs vegetable oil in most joints) are fresh. He also stated that all the fake meat dishes are highly costly and although they would love to serve more they are serving the same “value” as other places. I assume he would know these things since he has worked at samosa house and at gaylords. Just my 2cents.

  • Ok I have been to both restaurants several times, and I think this blog and all the comments are absolutely ludicrous.

    I honestly don’t see how anyone can think the food at samosa house is at all comparable to Bawarchi. I think the food at Samosa house is very runny, and tastes like it’s been sitting for a while.

    And in regards to the portions, can any of you honestly finish a lunch/dinner special at bawarchi and still be hungry?
    Rarley can I finish one at all and I’ 6’1 200lbs. And if I do, I usually am so full I don’t eat dinner.

    And once again I think the food at Bawarchi is undeniably better.
    If you want to get the most for your buck buy a bunch of ‘TastyBites'(prepackaged Indian Food) from Trader Joes. You can get a vaccuum sealed pack of garbonzo for $1.50…

    And also who cares if they ‘sneak’ in your Riata. You say they’re skimping on portions, and in the same breathe they are ‘sneaking’ in Riata.
    If you’re offended by the presence of yogurt… well I don’t even know what to say to that honestly

  • For the record, the Indian restaurant next to Bawarchi now has a lunch buffet which they’re advertising as being “vegan friendly.” Haven’t been yet, myself though.

    Andrew- I find both Samosa House’s to be MUCH better than Bawarchi.

  • Mark,

    You’re talking about Mayura, their buffet is pretty good, the atmosphere is a nice change up. It’s a lot more ‘sit down restraunty’ than the other Indian places. And they give you really good bread with the buffet.

    Their coffee is good to. Honestly it’s nothing special, just normal drip coffee. But for some reason I really enjoy it.

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