saffron of naples report
So let me know from you foodies out there what you thing of Saffrons. I am a big Indian food lover and have checked out the menu and although a little high priced for the location, we will give it a try if we here something good.And do they have a tandori oven?
Traumachef, Lee34102, and Val,
Here's my report on Saffron. Remember, they are only in their 3rd week!
Saffron’s co-owner and chef Rajesh Rimal has a welcome winner with Saffron’s cooking. It is hidden away behind a Hess gas station just off Pine Ridge, where the Original Noodles was, then a BBQ Brothers, then a Cracklin Jack’s. My guests initially drove right by, 10 feet in front of Saffron’s at 5:30 pm, not seeing a lit sign or lights on inside, and kept on driving, before circling back Pending new signage will remedy that! My two Indian guests, quite well respected cooks, and I will happily return, to what is arguably the more authentic of the two Indian restaurants in Collier county.
The décor is simple, autumnal with oranges and woods, wooden tables in the center and cushioned booths around the perimeter, with Indian music gently playing in the background. Service is prompt, a pleasure as it’s only 3 weeks old. While this is usually too early for me to visit, the buzz about the place was just too strong to ignore.
The garlic Naan ($3.95), freshly baked in the Tandoor clay oven, filled a large basket , was the diameter of a medium pizza, and could have been a meal unto itself.
The generous mixed appetizer ($14.95), designed to serve 4, could be a dinner for two, with a meat samosa, a veggie samosa, chicken pakora, onion bhajai, eggplant pakora, sweet potato pakora, broccoli pakora and a crisp papadum on top. WOW! This sampling of all the other appetizers is a great way to go, and everything was properly cooked and deliciously spiced. The crispy things were super crispy, and the samosas were richly flavorful. The accompanying mint chutney was a delight.
Next was quite fresh salads with a slightly tangy vinaigrette. The Mulligatawny soup (($4.95) was vegetarian, a change for those who expect chicken, and it was the only “just ok” dish of the evening.
The entrees were the stars. We ordered “medium” spicy on our dishes, and it was spot on. The Gosht Akbari ($17.95) was a succulent taste blend of lamb with apricots in a tasty rich sauce. While we could have used another few tablespoons of sauce to dip with the naan, we were quite happy with the dish.
The lusciously creamy Goa Shrimp ($18.95), with several perfectly tender large shrimp cooked in a mildly spiced coconut based sauce, was a tender delight. The white rice was tasty, accompanied by cinnamon sticks.
The mixed Tandoori Grill ($17.95) was a tasty selection of Chicken Tikka, (breast meat), Tandoori Shrimp, much like BBQ’ d shrimp, and Malai Seekh Kabobs- tasty lamb -a great example of a true Indian kebab, properly spiced .
The white rice was tasty, accompanied by cinnamon sticks. We ordered “medium” spicy on our dishes, and it was spot on. Sampling the Rogan Josh revealed a pleasant lamb curry, it was just not the specific taste of the North Indian- Kashmiri delight we were expecting. Many US Indian restaurants call any lamb curry variation a “Rogan Josh”, not aware that it’s really a very specific tasting dish, so we were not surprised.
We were already planning on inviting other Indian diners to enjoy this oasis of food, when we heard of the Mango or the pistachio Kulfis ($5). Kulfi is a very hard and generally pretty sweet Indian ice cream, made of thickened milk and frozen in a specific mold, to yield prefect triangles of frozen love. Our favorite was the mango. Both were good, and somewhat less sweet than as found in India. Still, a very good ending to a lovely meal.
The cost for generously feeding very good Indian food for 3 people was $93, including 2 spiced teas and a diet soft drink, Yes it's pricier than in other cities, however they must contend with Naples rent. We happily brought home the excess, and started planning our next sampling of Saffron’s offerings
I've photos at: http://aninsatiableappetite.blogspot....
Let's have all Collier County Chowhounds get together for some meals!
re: An Insatiable Appetite
Oops, I had a senior moment-it is the only one in Collier County. (Taj went belly up not long after it opened, ~ a couple years ago).
The tandoori chicken was a little dry at Saffron for us, too-perhaps it needs a longer yoghurt marinade before heating. Do let them know, as they fine tuning things these first few months-they were appreciateive of our comments as we finished the meal.
Passage to India, the one on Bonita Beach Road is in Lee County is ok in a pinch, it's of lesser quality and authenticity. If in Lee County I'd definitely prefer to go to India Palace.
I'm off to two days of South Beach Food and Wine Gluttony next weekend-anyone else going over from Lee or Collier?
re: An Insatiable Appetite
Oh, okay, thanks...yeah, went to Taj and was totally, 100% disappointed. Have not been to Passage and hear that it is not worth it, so am delighted to have Saffron here now. On the rare occasions that I go to Ft. Myers, India Palace is always on the agenda, love that place. Hopefully someone will also participate in the South Beach blitz with you, I'll just have to wait for the report on your blog!
re: An Insatiable Appetite
Wow, great report! Thanks. You got my mouth watering - I guess I'll just have to try Saffron again. On my first visit (the chowdown with with RevrendAndy and Val), the food was a bit disappointing - overly-salted lamb vindaloo, strange dal with kidney beans, overcooked tandoori chicken. But the naan was great and the benghan bharta (eggplant) was delicious. Plus, the company was delightful - thanks to RevrendAndy for organizing the chowdown.
I'd love to hear about Saffron as well. The timing was poor for us last weekend, but the entire concept of getting foodies together at a local place is sure appealing. We made the best Mac & Cheese I've ever tasted that evening with pancetta, white cheddar, colby and romano with reggiano shaved across the top of some nice "macaroni like" italian pasta. We got everything @ Wynn's, and it was spectacular!
If we could get a group in, a nice place to go might be Escargot 41 next to K-Mart.