It's funny how a food so seemingly exotic and filled with mysterious spice can evoke the comfort of Mom's home cooking. Saffron Indian Cuisine, Des Peres' bastion of Indian authenticity, balances these two moods through its expert execution of a kaleidoscope of subcontinental classics. The chicken tikka masala, perhaps Indian comfort food at its best, marries creamy tomato tanginess with a warm spice perfume. For those looking for heat — real, not-for-the-faint-of-heart heat — the lamb vindaloo delivers a searing-hot savoriness that causes a few beads of sweat to dot the forehead like little badges of honor. Even hardcore carnivores would approve of the navaratan korma, a creamy medley of vegetables and nuts simmered with spices (think fragrant, not hot) that the typical Western palate can't quite identify. To let readers in on a (not so little) secret, Indian restaurants do mango ice cream like no other, and the mango kulfi at Saffron is a perfect example. For the majority of us who cannot afford a $2,000 plane ticket to Mumbai, Saffron provides us with the next best thing.
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