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Thursday October 02, 2014
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African Crossroads

 

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those culinary influences: its halal menu includes a variation on Middle Eastern falafel, South Asian samosas and curried stews, and even Italian-inspired pasta dishes. Having no prior experience with Somali food, I can't attest to the authenticity of the restaurant's offerings, but I can enthusiastically endorse the deliciousness of many of Samosa House's offerings--especially its namesake fried turnovers.

Those samosas will drive my return to Samosa House again and again. Each of the four fillings--vegetable, beef, chicken, and lamb--is uniquely flavored. The vegetable samosa is laced with coconut and scented with sweet spices; the meat versions, also well spiced, highlight the savory quality of their prime components. On my initial visits a samosa order comprised a single huge pastry, but on my last I received two smaller ones. I prefer the crust/filling ratio of the larger version, so I hope the change isn't permanent; but large or small, those casings were thin, light, and crispy. Accompanying tamarind and green-chile chutneys reiterate the Indian influence and provide a nice complement.

Even before we tasted the crispy samosas, we knew that the food at this family-owned restaurant was thoughtfully and carefully prepared: Amina Hassan, who owns Samosa House with her sister Hawa, always disappeared into the kitchen after taking our order and returned to the dining room bearing each dish, hot and fragrant, when it was finished. (Members of large parties shouldn't necessarily expect to eat quickly or even simultaneously. A better idea is to order with a sharing philosophy and divide the dishes as they come out.)

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