Saffron Happy hour
I've always wanted to get to Saffron for their small plates which concept I love. I had the Kofta meatballs, Lamb BLT and Charmoula burgers. Everything was good but the star was the one dish I oredered off the regular menu. The lamb brain with tomato confit. it was well executed and tasty.
Having tried to visit Travail, to no avail, I met some colleagues for happy hour on Friday.
My experience was similar, we started with drinks and HH small plates, which were good as ever. The Rin a Gin Gin, in particular, was outstanding. This isn't throwing a cucumber in a gin and soda and calling it a day, but a blur of summery herbal delight that teases out the refreshing aspects of the alcohol.
But the main menu items were both spectacular. We had the haloumi cheese. Haloumi, I am informed, doesn't melt, so it can be grilled, and it was. Usually, cheeses get overpowered by sauces and jams, but this tomato jam played fair, though it was loaded with flavor.
I will say that the menu description for the chicken with eggplant lavosh doesn't do it justice. Chicken is usually an afterthought on any menu that also includes duck and lobster, but this is a showpiece.
The "exotic spices" (per the menu) are indeed exotic, but the balance is extraordinary. The chicken was almost like a donut, the crispy skin matching the delicate lavosh, so moist you can (as I did) eat it with a fork. The eggplant, of course, was properly cooked, which is no mean feat itself.
As we left, one of my colleagues remarked that the restaurant had a lot of empty tables. Why hasn't this place earned the cache of the 112 across the street? The food is at least as good, and the space is at least as hip.
In this day and age of celebrity chefs I would think that Wadis appearence on Iron Chef would fill the restaraunt. The beer selection was quite sad but I was talking to the bar manager, Wayne... and he knows his stuff. He is a fellow homebrewer and beer lover. It sounds like he is redoing their whole portfolio soon.
I have to say that the Happy Hour really just gives you a taste of what Saffron is about some of the stuff as you mentioned on the happy hour menu is better than others. You really have to come back for the whole meal, even the dessert is impressive. Yes the beer selection is average to below average, but this isn't somewhere I would go looking for beer their cocktails and wine are what you really want. The chamomile infused gin was quite impressive.
Made it to Saffron tonight for Restaurant Week. Have to admit I was scared of a place that serves lamb brain, but I was pleasantly surprised! We were brought a lovely bread basket and hummus to start. I'm typically not a huge fan of hummus, but this was really good and the bread was awesome! Could have made a meal of that.
I started with the Crab Croquettes which were served in atop a delightful corn chowder, although it was more salsa like than chowder like in that there was little liquid. The croquettes had just the right amount of crisp.
For the entree I went with the lamb shoulder which was served with harissa and chickpeas. Again, not a fan of chickpeas, but they complimented the lamb really well. It was like a yummy fall pot roast, but better.
For dessert I had the chocolate ganache cake with the salted caramel semi-freddo. I feel like you can never go wrong with salted caramel and this was no exception. In fact, if there's any criticism, I wish there was more of the semi-freddo.
Overall, a definite winner all around. Also did the wine pairings which were fantastic! Highly recommend.