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Feb 7, 2009 04:05 PM

Saffron Grill - North Indian cuisine

Two months ago, Saffron Grill opened its doors to a welcoming neighborhood when Kathmandu Cafe closed its very tiny restaurant at 1279 Fulton Street - just east of Divisadero. It's an easy transition since the new owners are friends of the previous owners. The plus for us is an easy walk from home.
Papadums were complimentary and served with tamarind and mint chutneys. We ordered sag paneer, chicken korma, lamb kebab, nan and bottomless cups of chai.
At first glance, the menu seems to offer standard fare— but, as the dishes arrived at our table, we were delighted to discover that each one is just better than usual... the sag tastes of spinach and the paneer is toothsome; the lamb kababs are pink-centered chunks of yogurt marinated spices; the chicken is meltingly tender in a rich curry of cashew with the surprise of sultanas; the nan is fluffy tender and softly charred; the masala chai is a subtle mix of fortifying spices. An excellent dinner of fresh flavors and complex curries will satisfy the most jaded palates. I can't wait to return to try the Lamb Achar!
Open Tuesday-Sunday Dinner 5pm-10:30pm and Lunch To Go 11:30 am-2:30pm

Saffron Grill
1279 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA

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  1. Loos nice, and thanks for the report. I will try.

    1. The three specials tonight were the tandoori trout, lamb samosas, and the okra bhindi - so that's what we ordered in addition to the chicken korma and the lamb coconut curry with nan, roti, rice, and chai. The flavors were fresh and bold. Every dish was excellent - the trout is exceptional - marinated in yogurt and spices with crisp skin and moistly succulent flesh! total dinner for four: $86 includes tip
      It's Dinner Only now - closed on Monday and no lunch service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cynsa

        Finally visited this place last night. We shared Vegetable Pakora, Fish (Tilapia) Masala, Navratan Korma (Mix vegetables cooked in a mild cashew cream, raisins and saffron sauce), Roti, Rice and Saffron Rice Pudding for desert.

        Overall, I was pleased, but not stunned. Everything was good and fresh tasting, the wait staff were congenial and the restaurant is charming, though the bathroom could really use a good cleaning, fresh paint and a new toilet seat (yuck). I'd return, but order differently (hopefully the trout tandoori will be available), and ask for more spice in my dishes. They were likely playing it safe with us.

        Vegetable Pakora
        4 pieces, good flavor and nice presentation, but not as crispy as I would have liked. My favorite version of this dish is still at Lahore Karahi.

        Fish Masala (medium spice)
        Fish was noit overcooked, sauce was tasty and not greasy. I'd order it even spicier next time.

        Navratan Korma
        Also fresh tasting and vegetables were not overcooked. However, this was not my preference for a vegetable dish, as cream-based Indian dishes don't wow me so much.

        Roti was warm and chew (in a good way). However, next time I'd order Naan. Rice was nicely cooked, but I would liked more flavor.

        I could have skipped the Saffron Rice pudding, but I typically don't enjoy desserts. I found it kind of blah, but my friend liked it. The doughnuts sounded good, though!

        FYI - The Cabernet Franc we brought paired well with the food. I like a fruitier red with Indian food, though beer is always a good match!

        Saffron Grill
        1279 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA