|Saffron Indian restaurant on 3230 E. Desert Inn Road was the first place on the list for this series, but when I pulled into the parking lot it appeared to be very closed. Almost deserted, in fact, but they hadn’t closed for good. The first on the list ended up being Thai Food To Go, and it resulted in a great kick-off to the series. The links to that review and the others are at the bottom of this post. A few days later I noticed a packed parking lot at Saffron as I drove by. Sweet, back on the list. A craving for some bold, spicy food kicked in and Saffron Indian Restaurant instantly came to mind.
I didn’t leave Saffron dissatisfied, because the people there were so nice, but I’m finding it hard to make a solid stance here. My instincts say to give the thumbs up, but my logic says that not to mention the negatives would be a disservice to my readers. Maybe this is what you would call a mixed review, but that is wishy-washy. I’ll just lay my story down, and let you make up your mind to visit Saffron Indian Restaurant, or not.
Upon entering Saffron, a banquet hall vibe is what I got. Just one big room, with the tables pushed close together on the far side, with the kitchen behind the far wall, and the half of the room closest to the door was completely open. I assumed for dancing because there is a stage in the corner, too. The stage was empty.
I was greeted by a well-groomed, polite young lady who confirmed that it is a restaurant, and she led me to the completely empty dining room.
I noticed that they were actually setting up for a banquet, and that’s why the tables were pushed together. Turns out it was a wedding reception for 11 am the next day. What time are these people getting married? The polite girl who sat me, brought me water and said the waitress would be right over. A woman who looked like an extra from “Slumdog Millionaire,” approached my table, to get a beverage order. The first girl, and the other employees working were in black and whites, but the just woke up look is what the waitress has going on. Whatever, she was actually very nice and knew the menu like nobody’s business. I assumed she is an owner, and hasn’t had time to change her clothes from the kitchen shift she just pulled.
While I waited for my iced tea, all around me, furniture was being moved, and it was quite a racket. Behind me the two gentlemen in the room, who were dressed professionally, had a conversation in Hindu. It went on a couple minutes, and stopped rather abruptly. I think they realized what they were doing, because one of them walked up to the stereo and blasted some tunes that couldn’t have contrasted the atmosphere any worse. Then he goes to the far wall and flicks the switches on two blowers at an attempt to make the dining room comfortable, and now the music is to the point of surreal because I’m in a light windstorm. I had to keep a hold of my menu so it wouldn’t blow away, and if I was with my wife, her hair would have been a deal breaker for any further plans that night. Not really, my wife’s not like that, but you get the picture.
The blowers mounted into each end of the far wall, were not ordinary a/c units, or swamp coolers, but were carpet blowers. Mounted into the wall. My waitress and I had to talk loudly to communicate. I ordered my favorite Indian restaurant item, samosas, for an appetizer. As I waited for them, the most pleasant gentleman, approached my table and asked me if I had been to Saffron before. This guy was super nice and was thankful for me coming in, and the interaction was cool. Nothing like most manager table visits that you see in a lot of restaurants, which usually seem canned and only executed to follow a company policy or meet a quota.
Oh yeah, I forgot, that’s exactly what they are.
The samosas were what had me convinced I was going to come down pretty hard on this place, regardless of the polite staff. They were garbage. They seemed old, and the filling was something similar to hospital food. It consisted of supermarket variety mixed vegetables, and cheese. With some seasoning. Luckily, the home made chutneys were delicious so I smothered the samosas with them and finished my plate like a good boy. My entree order was the “Chicken Tikki Masala” with an order of Basmati rice, and some garlic naan bread. All a regret after tasting the samosas, but when they arrived, my expectations began to change right away. Everything was looking fresh, and smelled terrific. The chicken Tikki Masala was perfect for my craving of bold, spicy, and hearty.
The boneless pieces of tandoori chicken were juicy and tender, with that unmistakeable flavor from the tandoori oven. The naan was hot and delicious, also with the wonderful “flavor of the fire” which only an open flame can provide. The rice was definitely just cooked, not one dry grain on the plate and all fluffy. Even my iced tea was good. Sweetened, but still good and fresh. The only caveat, of course, were the blowers. They made the temperature of the food go down pretty quick. lvfrankg
Question: Would you eat at Saffron Indian Restaurant based on this review?