One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the summer is here: Saffron NOLA (4128 Magazine St., 504-323-2626; www.saffronnola.com) opened quietly in Uptown Aug. 10.
The Vilkhu family garnered a following for Saffron on the West Bank, though the restaurant was only open for dinner on Friday nights. The new restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday nights.
Saffron NOLA is in a renovated space formerly occupied by Tryst and Saveur. In the open kitchen in back, chef Arvinder Vilkhu interprets Indian dishes incorporating local flavors and cooking styles culled from time spent in France, Thailand, Singapore and China.
Appetizers include large silver platters of buttery roasted oysters topped with caramelized onions and garlic served with naan. The house charcuterie board features garlicky pork sausage, chicken pate, a spicy pickled shrimp dish. creamy eggplant spread and truffled naan.
The menu also includes a section of roti sathi, or "companions" for the soft flatbread, including royal paneer featuring soft Indian cheese, tomato curry, greens and cashews.
Entrees include a bone-in goat masala served with basmati rice and a spice-crusted Gulf fish with curd rice, korma sauce and mango pickle.
Pastry chef Cait McNamee, formerly of Willa Jean, makes creative desserts brimming with exotic flavors. The Pineapple Express features a cream biscuit, star anise-roasted pineapple, passion-hibiscus foam, ginger ice cream and fruit. Some of the more popular deserts from the West Bank restaurant are on the list, including an Indian-style doughnut served with saffron syrup and a fig, date and praline ice cream.
Saffron NOLA is open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday for brunch.