Best Middle Eastern Restaurant Minneapolis 2011 - Saffron Restaurant & Lounge
Most Americans think of Middle Eastern food as hummus and shish kebab. But Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey have their own distinctive cuisines, a blend of culinary traditions that evolved over centuries of migration and war. Saffron is a fitting place to savor the diversity of the Middle East, as the restaurant features flavors of northern Africa, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Peninsula. Everything on the menu, from the giant beans laced with dill and olive oil to the sweet and savory chicken bisteeya in flaky phyllo dough, is carefully prepared and faithful to the ingredients' flavors. Take the lamb brain with tomato confit. The savory richness of the brain, which is accompanied by a whiff of organ-meat fragrance reminiscent of foie gras, is balanced by the sweet preserved tomato and garlic. A touch of parsley elevates the flavor and rounds out the dish to perfection. Saffron has a fantastic cocktail program, featuring original drinks made with infused liquors: Spices such as white and Szechuan peppers, mejdool dates, and chamomile transform familiar spirits like gin, whiskey, and brandy into veritable elixirs. They say the history of a land is written in its food. Saffron is a reminder of how complex the Middle East can be.