I love Saffron. It’s one of the more underrated restaurants in the Twin Cities. The service is always nice, the decor is cool, the drinks are awesome, and the food is fantastic. Sameh Wadi is a master of spice, and his team in the kitchen is very talented.
So when my wife and I were hanging out downtown late on a Saturday afternoon with our 6-year-old son Sam, and 8-year-old son Seth, close to dinner time, we thought: let’s try Saffron.
WHAT WE ATE (highly recommended in bold):
Potato Chips ($5)
Giant beans ($7)
Grilled Haloumi Cheese ($6)
Octopus a la Plancha ($8)
Kofta Meatballs ($8)
Seafood Tagine ($24)
Brussels Sprouts ($8)
WHAT THE ADULTS DRANK:
Heart Beets ($11)
This Bird Has Flown (10)
Haus Negroni ($10)
The menu is perfect for families. Saffron has about 16 small plates to share. We figured we’d warm up the kids with the homemade crispy potato chips with za’tar yogurt and spicy piquillo pepper sauce. The kids loved the yogurt dip, the adults loved the pepper sauce.
We were brought an amuse of the ham and cheese croquette (on the menu as a starter too). The kids loved them (what’s not to love about a fried ball of ham and cheese?) – but Seth especially loved the piquillo pepper sauce that was on the plate. A bit of a surprise to us – you never know when the kids will like something with a bit of heat.
Giant beans are a favorite of ours – and the kids inhaled them too. They’re just tossed in lemon, olive oil and dill – so light those beans just dance on the tip of your tongue.
I’m not sure we even got to eat the kofta meatballs – they have an enchanting spice mix, combined with the char of the grill, the kids inhaled them.
8 and 6 is the perfect age to introduce octopus, because the kids are too young to know that it’s “weird.” Both boys LOVED this dish: seasoned with paprika, sherry and served with toasted garlic. It had the right amount of snap to the octopus too, not chewy at all.
But it’s the tagines that are most exciting to kids. Served in a dramatic tagine pot at the table – the theater of removing the cone-shaped dome is exciting! The aromas of the tagine surrounded us, and the kids jumped in. The seafood tagine changes – on our visit there was mussels, crab, and whitefish. It was fresh, bright, tender, and delicious. The kids loved this too.
Rob Jones makes amazing drinks, and the ♥ Beets is an amazing one. dry gin, red beet essence, lemon, orange curacao, and absinthe. It was beautiful, and tasted like beets without being cloyingly over beety. Quite delicious.
My wife had the Haus Negroni which was perfect. The kids had Sprite – also exquisite.
SETH’S REVIEW: “The food was interesting and sort of new to me. I liked it a lot. I really liked the croquette!”
SAM’S REVIEW: “I liked the meatballs! And the big beans!”
WOULD YOU GO BACK: “Yeah.”
Saffron Restaurant & Lounge
123 N. 3rd Street