Up the stairs in the building across from CVS is the wonderful Samrat Indian Restaurant. By word of mouth, I had heard about the tastiness of the rich, ethnic dishes and the extremely affordable prices, so as an Indian food connoisseur, I felt Samrat was the obvious next stop on my never-ending journey to seek out the best Indian food.
In the back of the restaurant, among the beautifully set tables, is a lunch buffet that is immensely popular among Indian food lovers in the CNY area. For around just $9, you can try any of the endless options at the buffet (which is all you can eat, by the way). The warm, delicate aromas of authentic dishes like Aloo Gobi, an infusion of potato and cauliflower, pulled me into a haze that can only be induced by amazing Indian food.
Luckily for me, I went to Samrat with my friend Gorv, whose aunt runs the restaurant. Thanks to him, I met the woman operating the eatery, and we were treated to a grand spread of food.
Gorv ordered Chicken Tikka Masala, while I opted to try the vegetable samosas (fried potatoes, vegetables, and spices), chana masala (simmered chickpeas and tomatoes), dal (creamed lentils), naan and puri breads, and of course, a ton of rice. I was amazed at how many vegan and vegetarian options there were, and how much variety there was in general.
Everything we had was absolutely delectable. The warm, flavorful dishes were an ideal escape from the cold, gloomy afternoon. I especially liked the samosas, which had the perfect amount of crunch to balance the creaminess of the hot vegetables encased in the flaky shell. I also loved the dal mixed with rice. The serving sizes weren’t huge, but the flavor is so intense that you don’t need to eat much before you’re full.
The atmosphere of Samrat is homey and vibrant in color—a fitting escape for a dreary day. And if you’ve never tried Indian food, the buffet is a perfect opportunity to figure out what you like.
If you go:
Samrat Indian Restaurant
701 S. Crouse Ave, Syracuse, NY; (315) 479-6051
Type of food: Indian
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sit down/Take-out/Both: Both
Alcohol: Beer and wine only