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SIMPLY SAFFRON

by Dani Vanderboegh

A new take on a Triad favorite

elledani@gmail.com

Looking for an Eastern dining retreat? Look no further than the Westover Gallery of Shops on Mill Street. As a new girl in town, I was looking for traditional Indian food similar to my favorite restaurant back home in St. Louis. Every time I go to a new town, I pick up this chore, but rarely have I found anything close to my first love “” Saffron is the closest yet.

This quaint little retreat of a restaurant is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s tucked into the Westover plaza next to the Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Once you step inside, the simple décor, the dark wood tables and chairs, the delicate white and black tiles, the rich sparkling framed tapestries hanging on the wall, the elephant statue in the corner, the large blinds that cover the entire windows, which close out the rest of the world, and the pleasant scent of coriander and cumin transport you to another place, so much that you forget about the cha-chas and tangos going on next door.

Saffron’s vision, according to their website, is to simplify Indian cooking and get back to the basics with nutrition, quality, flavor, aroma and taste.

Knowing this, I wanted to try something a little different so I ordered Shrimp Poori. It’s a pretty impressive piece of thin puffed bread stuffed with jumbo shrimp cooked in the chef’s special recipe. I have no idea what the special recipe is, but it’s earthy, spicy and delicious.

For the main course, I reverted back to a simple favorite, Chicken Tikka Masala, chicken cooked in tandoor and tossed in tomato sauce. The chicken is juicy and succulent and the tangy sauce is complementary. It’s served over traditional rice with spices and carrots.

If I’m at the table, Chicken Tikka Masala, and basically any other entrée, is eaten with Garlic Naan. Garlic Naan is unleavened white flour bread baked in the clay oven with fresh garlic and cilantro. In my book, it’s the best part of the meal “” the can’t-do-without part.

Then if you have room for dessert, I’d recommend anything with mango; I skipped dessert and regretted it all night. Don’t repeat my mistake.

I went with my date, AKA my new book, the must have for a single girl dining alone. But it’s undeniable that this is the perfect spot to bring a date, as evidenced by the several other couples there on a weeknight.

Saffron is the perfect name for this Indian get-away.

Saffron filaments or threads are dried stigmas of the saffron flower. Each flower contains only three stigmas, which are picked from each flower by hand. It takes more than 75,000 of these flowers to produce one pound of Saffron filaments. This of course makes Saffron the most precious spice in the world, though it can be used sparingly. It’s the uniqueness of this spice combined with the quality of the restaurant’s food that make the name and meaning compatible. Saffron is a handpicked find, just outside of downtown, with a second location in Winston-Salem. !

WANNA go?

Saffron is located in the Westover Gallery of Shops at 1500 Mill Street Suite 104 in Greensboro. For more information call 336-574-3300.

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