Make no mistake, Rick Aco (rhymes with “taco”) still brings it with the best of ’em when it comes to rockin’ the food of this Southeast Asian sub-continent.
We might go so far as to say this former Tao chef (who’s about as Indian* as George Armstrong Custer) is doing the best cuisine of this type in the city. Origin India might do avant-garde Indian better, but for classic tandoors, korma, jalfrezi, pakoras and samosas, SF’s freshness is tough to beat.
Truth be told, it had been a couple of years since we’d dropped by. Samosa Factory was always one of our Number Two Son‘s favorites, but once he departed to UNM for grad school, our trips to West Sahara dwindled in number. Which is a shame, because if anything, Aco’s food has gotten better in the years since he took this place over from the Sirivastavas. His mesquite-fired tandoor turns out some of the lightest naan around, and the bass notes of his lamb korma used the deep flavors of cumin, coriander and turmeric to harmonize with the richness and slight gaminess of the meat. That korma was koncupiscent, but then again, so was the tomato-laden shrimp jalfrezi, and a fresh baby spinach curry that could turn us into a vegetarian.
Indian restaurants are infamous for using shortcuts — putting baking powder in their biryanas and naan (to fill you up faster) at their all-you-can-eat lunch buffets is legendary, and one of the reasons you often feel bloated after a few bites of this food. Ditto the use of cheap meats and spice shortcuts — who’s gonna notice under all that gravy? — so it’s a pleasure to find a committed chef who is in love with these techniques and works hard to recreate the best of this mysterious and wonderful cuisine.
One thing you’ll never find in New Delhi** is a cheeseburger samosa, but Aco’s playful take on this street food standard is all that and a bag of chips — nicely-spiced ground beef with melted cheese in a light, flaky samosa package. His minced chicken and veggie triangular packets of perfection also put most other Indian versions to shame. Eating Las Vegas used to consider the samosas at Samosa Factory one of the weakest things on the menu, now they’re one of the best.
Our meal with plenty of food for three with several mango lassis came to $58+$12 tip.
4604 W. Sahara Ave. Suite 6
Las Vegas, NV 89102
** Its soccer team is the ‘Catessens.