In a college community where social circles are constantly subject to change, the preservation of traditions within friend-groups stands paramount. For some, this means sharing an afternoon making pie, or playing Dungeons and Dragons until four in the morning. For those of us with humbler skills or loftier interests, the meaningful meal at the ‘usual place’ is a staple for sustaining friendships.
For me and mine, one of those “usual places” is the Samosa Hut & Grill. We first went at the beginning of last semester, as a way of reconnecting with some of our friends who, because they went to Rome at a different time, we had not seen in over a year.
As we gathered around the order counter, it was clear that of course everyone needed to try the eponymous samosas. If you’ve never had one, a samosa is a triangular, fried pastry filled with meat or vegetables: usually spicy, invariably delicious. Because Samosa Hut serves “Indian Fusion,” they have more than the traditional beef, chicken and vegetable samosa varieties, daring to serve “Cheese Pizza,” “Nacho Beef,” and “Jerk Chicken.” With three samosas for $2.97, it’s worth a try. Do be warned: Samosas are not just spicy-hot, but temperature-hot. Wait a bit before enjoying. Consider it an exercise in patience.
The cultural collision extends equally into Samosa Hut’s curries. The brave may favor the traditional mixes, but mealtime experimentalists can try the “Thai Coconut.” Personally, I have established a pretty steady relationship with the good-old “Tikka Masala,” which marries a creamy tomato base with savory spice. One reason why I favor the curries is that the order comes with rice and naan – not merely one or the other. Naan is an Indian flatbread baked in a clay oven, and I’ve never yet encountered a person who failed to recognize its doughy superiority.
Although the food gives reason enough to go, there are definite parallels between the Samosa Hut dining style and the Italian. At Samosa Hut, you order at the front, then grab table settings and find seats. For a group of friends, this can be fun; you end up with too few napkins, only pepper and a multitude of spoons. There is slight chaos. You forgot to get water. The food comes quickly.
And then everything slows down.
Here is what happens: Everyone has ordered either too much food, or not enough. One person goes to order, and another two immediately decide to split their feast. Then the one friend who wasn’t completely sure about Indian food drains her own water and her neighbor’s, regretting the hubris that led her to order the Vindaloo. You sympathetically pass her your naan.
There’s no wine, and probably no Italians, but the focus on relationships is the same.
We don’t go to Samosa Hut very often – but every month or two, it provides an occasion to be with the friends who I might not see every day, and I’m never left short of memories. The encouraging wall hangings, the incomprehensible but good mango milkshake, immense desert “on the house” that closed our inaugural trip – those who have experienced them cannot but smile to recall.
So, try Samosa Hut yourselves – amble down Northgate, pull a left on Macarthur and then a right on North Coker Street. It’s right there, next to the Colony.
You’ll probably eat beyond the bounds of prudence.