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279A Newbury St. Send to Phone

Lunch daily, Dinner Sun.-Thurs.

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Saffron Restaurant Review

: Two menus, one kitchen and voila, we have Boston’s first Indo-Euro hybrid. Retooled from a former sushi bar and Japanese restaurant, this two-floor Newbury Street newcomer with a large patio is certainly handsome and quite hip. Big cushiony pillows abound amidst polished steel set against cherry wood and glass. Diners sit on either shiny black chairs or in comfortable banquettes. As for the food, the German chef with an Asian pedigree has conceived some dramatically named and equally dramatic looking presentations. The trouble is that much of the fare seems overly forced, what we’d call oddity for oddity’s sake. To wit: crispy Parmesan ring salad and an eggplant-mushroom tower. Both were pretty to the eye and each was filled with mushy ingredients---in the former, overdressed greens with too much vinegar and in the latter soft eggplant with tomatoes that were too sweet. The mushroom risotto with a hint of ginger and asparagus tips was fair, but pan-fried tuna was quite good and the accompanying spinach even better. While we enjoyed our saag paneer, the Indian bellwether preparation of chopped spinach, dense Indian cheese and spices, notably ginger, at $15, it’s almost double what the curry houses charge but did come with raita, some naan and lentils. A rack of lamb was fine but not as good as what you’d find in a nearby steakhouse for the same price ($29). There’s a nicely conceived wine list, and desserts are elaborate, well-made and more fairly priced ($6-$9) than the entrĂ©es. The place attracts a crowd with well-connected foreign students. While we often complain that Boston’s Indian restaurants seem cut from the same mold, while Saffron’s ambition is to be lauded, early on, we found ourselves more seduced by its idea than its execution.


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