There aren’t many Indian offerings in Sunnyside, but the recently opened Saffron Garden makes up for that by serving excellent food. It replaced the mediocre Basmati table and is hopefully here to stay.
Located on Skillman Ave between 46th and 47th streets, Saffron Garden has a number of closely arranged tables, but also offers take-out.
Sorry for the blurriness but I didn’t realize quite how dark it was, and in fact, they turned the lights even lower while we were eating. This standard appetizer (hard bread with 3 sauces) arrives as soon as you sit down at the table. They did not, however, bring us any water until we got to order (which took a while). Overall there was some chaos and confusion going on with the wait staff, as I will explain further down.
A few minutes after we made our order, the waiter arrived with these vegetable pakoras, which we did not order. We explained that, but after searching around the restaurant for who did order them with no luck, he gave them to us for free. They were very good and went along well with the sauces from the appetizer.
An entire section of the extensive menu was devoted to breads, and this, most expensive ($4) item is the Saffron Garden special stuffed naan. It comes topped with pears, cherries, and a variety of other things which I couldn’t quite identify. It was delicious – I am willing to go as far as saying this was the best naan I ever had.
I was initially skeptical about this chicken vindaloo ($10) as it looked small and bland, but it definitely wasn’t. The size is a little deceiving, and these metal bowls can hold a lot more thanit would seem. The rice was nicely mixed in with peas and carrots, and the chicken itself was very good – definitely not buffet style Indian food.
The shrimp briyani ($13) is at the top end of their price scale, and was also of a generous size (although the rice was mixed into this one). There were five relatively large, fresh shrimp in there.I think seafood is not typical in Indian restaurants, but they definitely pass the test on this one.
Like the pakoras, this rice pudding was again complementary, and quite delicious (although we were stuffed at this point, so it was tough to finish). The manager was apologetic because of a number of minor screwups – we didn’t have water at the beginning, it took a long time before we got to order, and they forgot to bring a coke I ordered until I reminded them. At the very end, they also screwed up the check, charging us for some sort of “combination platter” which we certainly did not order. I would have let this pass, but its price was more than even the complementary pakoras and pudding would have cost, so I pointed it out to the waiter. The manager again apologized and fixed it, and gave us “50% off”, although even that was not accurate, because doing the math it was actually about 25% off of what we would have paid. I did give them a high tip though, as they were ultimately helpful, and the food was awesome. Once they figure out their wait staff confusion issues, this restaurant will be perfect.