Saffron Fresh Indian Is A Classier Steam Table Lunch Option

There is a cluster of steam table Indian restaurants in lower Tribeca that seem to cater to office workers in a hurry and cab drivers. They are mostly utilitarian with a few tables and chairs, and have probably not had updates to the interior in a while. Even from the outside, Saffron Fresh Indian, which recently opened on Chambers St. (btw. Broadway & Church), looks a little brighter and inviting than those nearby on Church St. like Pakistan Tea House, Bangal Curry and New Shezan. There’s a lunch special, or you can do as I did and order off the menu. It’s pretty easy to stay below the $10 mark here.

The prices here are reasonable, although if you order off the menu you’re mostly restricted to vegetarian dishes or one of the kati rolls to stay under $10. I had phoned in my order, so it wasn’t until I got here that I saw there’s an $8 steam table lunch special. It looked like there were about eight to 10 dishes to choose from, in case you’re in a hurry, and the inside is nice. Next time steam table. Next time.

I ordered the chicken kati roll ($6) and some papri chat ($6) because I can never resist Indian snacks if they are on the menu. The roll was about the same size as what you get from some of the street carts in the Financial District, except you only get one of them. That being said, the wrap, which was a cross between paratha and a tortilla, was less greasy than the kind you get at most carts and the chicken less suspect. The poultry inside was nicely flavored with a bit of spicy kick, and paired with chopped lettuce, some onion and a yogurt sauce.

I’m going to have to say the papri chat was a better deal than the chicken roll, but that’s only if you don’t mind eating a large dish of cold potato, chickpeas, puffed crisps, yogurt and chutney. There was a lot here, and while this may not be the best chat to be found downtown, I could see this being ideal for summer lunching on the cheap if you don’t want a hot dish.

In comparing this to the similar Indian options nearby, I was pleasantly surprised although I’d like to go back and check out some of the more standard fare from the steam table since the price is right.

Saffron Fresh Indian, 98 Chambers St. (btw. B’way & Church), (212) 676-0313


1 Comment

  • This place is good. Really good. It is not your ordinary steam-table Indian joint. Ingredients are fresh, food is well-prepared, even a bit spicy (Indian restaurants, by-and-large, prepare their food for Western palates, forgoing spiciness to appeal to the mass-market). The people who work here are extremely helpful and work hard to make you happy. Three items+rice+naan=$9. You can’t go wrong. Stumbled in here mostly by accident and am a convert.

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