This past Saturday, the group hit the next restaurant on the list, Saffron Restaurant and Lounge. The chef, Sameh Wadi, has competed on Iron Chef America. He didn't win, but he did impress the judges. Saffron is a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant. Think hummus, lamb, tagines, those sorts of things. Saffron has been open since 2007, so it is one of the older restaurants on the list. I've been there before, as had Kym and Kyle.
The last time we were there was a few years ago. The restaurant was going through a phase where the wine list was on an iPad. That was sort of the thing there for awhile - menus on iPads. Is anyone still doing that? This time, I was happy to see the wine and drink list on paper. Nothing against iPads...I guess I'm just a traditionalist when it comes to menus.
I started off with a drink called the Mirage - I was attracted by the combo of bourbon and beer in the same drink. It was quite good. David had a Secret Agent - Classic. It's basically a surprise drink...whatever the bartender wants to make you. With my dinner I had a glass of red wine, which I wasn't as excited about. Oh well.
Saffron is a good place to go if you like to share. I like that in a restaurant...makes it a little more fun when you can try a little bit of a lot of things. We mostly shared while we were there...I got a little greedy with my baby artichoke salad. Most everything is meant to be shared, and the big plates and tagines are suitable for two people.
David and I had the marinated olives and pickles, because I love olives and I love pickles. I love pretty much anything pickled for that matter. These olives and pickles I was not too excited about. There was some sort of herb flavoring I didn't care for. I can't put my finger on it. There were also some pickled carrot, celery (?), few pickles. I'd skip that next time and maybe try the crispy potato chips.
We also had the falafel soup, which was really interesting. I was picturing sort of a broth with falafel floating in it, but that was not the case at all. I don't really remember what was in it, but it was a cold soup, very tasty, green and creamy (my career as a food writer just died a slow death with that sentence). It also had pickled something, which I don't remember, but it was very salty, in a good way.
I already mentioned the baby artichoke salad which was very very good and when there were only two little artichokes left it finally dawned on me that I should have shared. Oh well.
For an entree David and I split the lamp tagine and it was very good. There were olives in there, and again...something about those olives I did not like.
Now, if you were to go to Saffron, I would tell you to get the chicken with the eggplant lavash. The other two couples each got the chicken and it was amazing. Chicken is always tricky in a restaurant. If you read enough food writing, you start to realize that chicken is the like the red-headed step-child of the foodie world. It dries out easily, is bland, blah blah blah. But this chicken, this chicken was amazing. And I will go back to Saffron for the sole purpose of ordering this chicken. Thank you to my friends for letting me try a bite.
I don't remember dessert. Oh wait! I do. David and I shared the Hazlenut Financier. It was a lot crispier (hard!) that I thought it would be. I'll leave it at that.
Our server was quite pleasant. Not a rah-rah cheerleader type, but she knew the menu and guided us well.