Saffron re-opens today after a little hiatus, during which they slapped some fresh paint on the old girl.
Can you believe that Saffron is already five years old? True. After doing some simple demo in the kitchen to make more room, the Wadi brothers caught the bug and decided to shut down and refresh the place. I popped in last night for a little preview.
The great thing is that they didn't do such a major overhaul that it felt like a different resto. It still felt like Saffron, just more finished, a bit softer, and a touch more welcoming. With the help of David Shea, the team added some big beautiful hanging lanterns, a new banquet against the back wall, some new wall art, and a great artistic touch to the back bar. You'll also notice the absence of white tablecloths, the new table tops stand on their own and give the place a bit more warmth and casual feel.
As for the menu, Sameh told us that he's been feeling like simplifying, like returning to some elemental flavors. He's drawn a lot of inspiration from the unpublished encyclopedia of Palestinian food his parents created, but by no means is he geographically bound. The mezze selection has widened and included a Turkish style house-cured and dried beef called bastirma that came dressed simply with almonds, olive oil, and a bit of lemon. Truly a lovely way to start a meal. Slow cooked green beans are labeled "in the style of my palestinian grandmother" and came with a rich and earthy tomato and garlic sauce. Also, the Spanish chicken and porcini croquettes, for the win.
You'll also find some new things such as grilled sweet corn in a North African preparation, whole roasted branzini with crispy grape leaves and herbs, and a selection of tagine. Don't worry, the lamb BLT and the roasted chicken are still there, but it does feel like Sameh is stretching his wings and respectfully playing around a bit more, which does nothing but bode well for the next five years.