By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Compelling visual touches intrude, too. Lobster masala arrives as a sprawl of gray and white studs of diced lobster peeking through here and there. Bright, deep coral-hued halves of tail shell flanked the top edge of the platter, giving the dish visual pop. But the treatment--littered with onions, garlic, peas and peppers--trumped any rich lobster flavor that may have been present. Most likely, though, it wasn't the surrounding flow of ingredients that detracted. It was the weakly rich lobster meat--a frozen appendage no doubt.
Shrimp moiley had a similar disposition, at least superficially. But it was simpler: just curls of firm shrimp in a dull taupe coconut-based sauce sparked with cumin, ginger, cilantro and curry. It was smooth, rich and satisfying--an exquisitely jarring piece of preparation.
But while Saffron's seafood fired a spicy scorch of inspiration, lamb dishes disappointed. Nargisi kofta curry, minced lamb meatballs in rich yogurt gravy, seethed with that incomprehensible blanket of Indian complexity, but it was stingy with its balls. Lamb chops were even more of a disappointment, saddled next to an overcooked vegetable medley of green beans, onions, cauliflower, corrugated carrot slices (could they have come from the same chiller as the lobster tail?), thick potato slices and lima beans. Three tiny chops caked in a pale algae-green paste broken with singe-mark breaks around the edges were mealy and dry with just a barely perceptible peek of pink in the center.
5100 Belt Line Road
Addison, TX 75001
Saffron House successfully flirts with all of the mind-bending sensuality that makes Indian cuisine among the greatest in the world. But it is just that: a flirtation; one that in the end amounts to a frustrating tease with consummation. Details dog it. There appears to be no eye (or tongue, for that matter) zeroing in on kitchen craft, no precise touch to keep the complex array of Indian culinary explosives from chafing or even mutilating basic foodstuffs. A touch like this is worth even more than an ounce of saffron powder.
5100 Belt Line Road, Addison, 972-239-1800. Open for lunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Open for dinner 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday & Tuesday-Thursday; 5 p.m-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday. Open for Sunday brunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. $$-$$$