Saffron Indian Bistro
4 out of 5 stars
I hope I haven’t butchered the names of the dishes too badly. Among my favorite restaurants anywhere is Saffron.
- Sample Buffett Menu
- Naan Bread
- Tandori Chicken
- Chicken Karma
- Turkey Meatballs in Masala Yogurt Sauce
- Vegetable Masala
- Aloo Gabi
- Gbhindi Cokral chana (chick peas)
- Vegetable Birhany
- Basmati Rice
- Rice Mango Pudding
- Mint chutney and the obligatory green lettuce salad and coconut yogurt and as they say, “and more.”
We are both huge fans of Indian food. So much so that I keep the essential ingredients on hand so we can cook it at home, and I have mastered a few of the basics. I am not, by any means, an expert on Indian cooking. I will put my Chicken Curry with 20 “boys” up against anyone’s Indian dish, including your Indian grandmother’s. Nonetheless, I’m sort of a four trick pony when it comes to India dishes and the flavors I can create. I find it challenging to create new flavor profiles or to get away from the affliction of choosing the safety of delicious repetition over the risk of further disappointment from experimentation. I’m not the only one.
While there is certainly the perfect cheeseburger or a red sauce which you count on to never change, like many types of food, Indian eateries tend to get repetitive. Eat there once or twice and you’ve had all the tastes and textures they have to offer. They achieve consistency at the expense of passion and variety.
Not so at Saffron! To eat at Saffron is to be taken in, to be treated to multi dimensional food and a kitchen that wants you to know they love what they do. It is to know that if you keep coming back, you can count on them to surprise you. The sauces will always be velvety and the ingredients fresh and perfectly prepared, but you may not recognize everything on the buffet every time and that’s a good thing.
We’ve been eating at this incredible Indian Restaurant for a couple of years. It’s a modern eatery. Seriously, Saffron is not your typical strip mall, sticky carpet, shotgun Indian joint with the bad service and the SAME choices on the buffet over and over again. In my mind, they’ve more than managed to make a name for themselves by providing some pretty incredible Indian fare which reflects imagination and the chef’s commitment to applying all sorts of incredible preparation techniques. If you check Yelp, you’ll find some whiney hiney’s pontificating on how “they lived in India for a while and that it’s not authentic because it doesn’t taste like the Indian they had…” Here is my counter. We eat at various Indian establishments around the city and many of them are good, and occasionally some of them are often delicious. But none of them show the passion for variety and imagination that Saffron does. And so if what you want is to taste the same familiar thing, over and over again, day in and day out, then by all means stay away from Saffron so I can get a table.
If you are in to mind-boggling variations of both meat and vegetarian dishes with a strong nod to flavor, texture, and a decent wait staff, then I highly recommend you try Saffron. I’ve listed much of what was/is on the lunch buffet, which is how we like Saffron’s. It is by far the best lunch buffet of any kind, let alone Indian food, in town.
I’m particularly fond of these little bundles of potato and vegetables fritters called Vegetable Pakoras. And although they do a pretty incredible job with chicken and the like, their meatless and vegetarian dishes are so thoughtfully prepared that I often have to ask, what is in this? It’s too good.
The atmosphere is open, breathes easy, and the wait staff is always friendly. I’m thinking about offering to wash dishes for a week if they’ll let me in on some of the techniques and recipes.
Take a date, go by yourself, lunch or dinner. We are positive you’ll be blown away. They have a full bar and so it has the potential for a perfect date night.
You can find out even more about Saffron at http://www.tucsonindianrestaurant.com/