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Jun 3, 2012 09:34 AM

Saffron - Flavors of India (report)

A new (at least to me) Indian restaurant on the northwest side is always of interest in our family. So we decided to check out this place yesterday...I had to pick up DH from the airport, and since its convenient to the freeways it seemed like a good choice.

I gather from what I could find on google (mostly yelp reviews) that Saffron was open for awhile, closed, and then reopened - probably at a different location although that wasn't clear. I do worry about their ability to make it in this present seems pretty off the beaten track in what is mostly a residential neighborhood. It is on the corner of Craig and Tenaya in what appears to be an almost empty strip mall. Furthermore, parking there is well, weird: when you turn into the lot from Craig (which you will almost surely do if coming from the 95) there is no straight shot to the have to negotiate weirdly-placed parking barriers. I also question the wisdom of featuring the (beautiful) bar in this family-friendly, and frankly probably heavily Mormon neighborhood. (The bar is the only part of the restaurant visible through the large picture windows; if you didn't know better and just glanced in you might well think it was only a bar....and you have to walk through the bar to get to the tables).

But we came for the food. DH didn't even want a drink; he was already half asleep after a day that started at 5:30 am Florida time. (and it was already after 8pm in Vegas...). Our very friendly waitress quickly brought us some forgettable pappards (what you might call pappadums). Sorry, but after you've tried my SIL's home-made pappards everything else tastes like paper. Things did get better: we had a kachumber salad that was made with very fresh and tasty vegetables and was a very generous serving for 3 or 4 dollars (easily serving two). We also enjoyed the corn-mushroom curry and Madras chicken. Both were well-spiced and tasty. The nan at Saffron is very good; probably the highlight of the meal. I particularly appreciated the fact that the garlic nan is not overly coated with garlic, and there is just a touch of butter so it isn't overly greasy either. Our meals came with a generous serving of basmati rice.

The menu is typically northern with a few Hakka items. I would like to come back and try the Hakka noodles....maybe with a friend as DH is not a fan of Indo-Chinese food. Prices are moderate; our meal was just around 40 dollars. The restaurant is nicely decorated, and has a serene quality that makes for a nice "date night." I definitely think Saffron is worth a visit, especially if you are in the neighborhood or live anywhere in the Northwest or Centennial Hills. (Not necessarily a place I would drive across town to go to...). I would like to try some of the specialty cocktails some time. I just hope the restaurant can survive in that location....everyone we talked with there seemed very nice and service was very accommodating (bringing extra nan, etc). After all, on a Saturday night it was almost empty. (It was fairly late, but still....we did note that they seem to do a good take-out business...)

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  1. Nice writeup. My wife and I have been a couple of times, as it's the closest Indian that I know of to our Centennial Hills residence. My assessment is that the food and flavours are good, however the portions are small for the price, and the chutneys could use some help (watery). If curries were priced under $10, we would be regulars.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TravelScholar

      I have yet to find a chutney in an Indian restaurant that ISN'T too watery...and what's with the tiny dishes the chutneys come in? (Too small for dipping..) As for serving size, I didn't find it too small, but I do agree that especially the meat prices seem about a dollar or two higher than I would expect. I guess that's the price you pay for the nice decor....However, the side dishes seemed to be more reasonably priced....As for finding curries priced under 10 dollars, if you can find a decent one at that price level in this town please let me know about it....:-). As for Indian in Centennial Hills, there used to be a little place in the Centennial Shopping Center near the Home Depot (I forget the name...). We went there once and I enjoyed it, but DH thought the food was too mild....anyone know if its still there?

      1. re: janetofreno

        Indian Curry Bowl is closed. I went there once, but thought the food wasn't very good.

        Samosa Factory on W. Sahara & Decatur have very good, reasonably priced curries...maybe not quite under $10, but I think they are $11-13 or so, and you get a very generous portion for the price.

        1. re: TravelScholar

          Actually, I found Samosa Factory to be more expensive than Saffron.....last time I ate there I had a samosa appetizer, one entree, and a tea, and my bill before tip was over 20 bucks. I thought that it was overpriced.....I don't want to pay over twenty dollars for a mediocre Indian lunch when DH will cook me a good Indian dinner when I get home....

    2. Finally, a pretty decent Indian restaurant for the denizens of the NW valley. Saffron Flavors is not as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, India Oven @ Sahara/Paradise, but the drive is 10 minutes vs. 30 minutes.

      foursome decided to give Saffron Flavors a try this past Saturday. As janetofreno wrote, the decor is certainly better than India Oven, but the food doesn't quite get there. First, I would of liked to see more lamb curries on the menu. My wife's favorite is lamb korma, not listed on the menu. I believe a special order could have been made, but this was our first time here.

      The services was definitely outstanding, Attentive, but not cloying. On to the food!

      Appetizers: We ordered vegi samosas and paneer hakka. The samosas were probably up there with some of the best we have had. The dough was not heavy, not like a southern hush puppy you often get at Indian places. The hakka may have been the best course of the evening. Very well seasoned/spiced. The added vegis were perfect for cutting the heat.

      Entrees: I had lamb vindaloo. The other three: lamb gosht, fish goa curry, and chicken tikka. I don't think there were any clunkers in the lot. My vindaloo was very tasty, but a little on the sweet side.

      We ordered the plain and garlic Naan and as janet said it was very good.

      So, we decide to go out for Indian food, India Oven or Saffron Flavors? I want to drive, India Oven; I don't, Saffron Flavors. The food is better at India Oven; the convenience is better at Saffron Flavors. After work take out will be easier at Saffron Flavors.