Zafran in Santa Clara
With Cafe Dhaka closed, I wondered where I should search for a new southern outpost on the Great Biryani Road that follows El Camino through Silicon Valley. I decided to try out Zafran based on a nice review in Metro - Stett Holbrook is the best newspaper critic I've read in the area.
This was a great idea! The biryanis are listed on the menu as particular "chef recommends" specialities. The chicken biryani here was extremely tasty, and different from the other great biryanis I've had in the area This apparently is a more Pakistani-style biryani. It's full of fresh herbs and spices - I hadn't seen thin slices of fresh ginger in other biryanis, and it's a lively touch. The overall flavor is just fantastic, with the combination of complexity and comfort that makes great biryanis so enjoyable.
On another visit I tried the achar gosht, made from goat rather than lamb (yay!) and with a nice pickle presence. It's not as great as my all-time favorite achar dishes at Hyderabad House, but it's quite respectable.
I need to go back and try the behari kebab and some of the other specialties.
1855 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA
We were planning to go to Athena Grill tonight, but the city of Santa Clara took away some of their space and the line to get in was really long. So we headed to Zafran for a long-overdue return visit.
The goat biryani was as awesomely delicious as ever, with the ginger and other fresh herbs and spices. We also had the chicken karahi which was a delicious curry - whole chicken pieces with some chicken dissolved in the sauce as well.
Strangely enough they are now offering some Mediterranean / Persian dishes in addition to the Pakastani and Indian food. Most people seemed to be sticking to the Pakistani specialties. They weren't doing as much business as on previous visits, so please support one of the finest Pakistani place in Silicon Valley.
In another post, rotiprata mentioned that Zafran has been replaced by Mehran. The menu posted online looks practically the same as the old Zafran menu (not the one where they added some "Mediterranean" specialties - when I saw that, I knew it might not be long for this world.)
Has anyone been since the change? Is the food as good as before, particularly the biryani? Might it even be the same chef with different owners?