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Saff ron serves tasty, Europeaninspired
tapas in Howard Beach
BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI
email@example.com / @smont76
Petite bites with big fl avor are an order
away at Saff ron in Howard Beach.
Owner and chef Herbert Duarte and
his daughter Mimi operate Saff ron
Restaurant, which sits along the bustling
Cross Bay Boulevard. Serving the neighborhood
for about nine years, Saff ron’s
menu features a diverse selection of tapas,
or small plates, as well as soups, salads,
Spanish paella and other full entrees.
Seafood tapas off erings include the
charred yet tender pulpo, or octopus,
served with a Spanish sofrito and potatoes.
Th e crab cake sliders — perfectly
moist on the inside and crunchy on the
outside — are another highlight, as well as
the fl avorful Mediterranean stuff ed clams.
As for meat tapas, diners can enjoy
selections including Cuban sliders, grilled
chorizo with onions and cheesy croquetas
de jamon. Flavorful ropa vieja tacos with
pico de gallo and a jalapeno avocado aioli
pack a delicious punch. Duarte said the
tacos, as well as the plantain nachos, are
constant customer favorites.
Entree off erings include meat, vegetarian
and seafood paellas, as well as savory
chicken, steak and salmon dishes.
Diners looking for a sweet way to end
their meal won’t be disappointed. Cremefi
lled churros with chocolate sauce and a
decadent espresso fl an were among the
restaurant’s cozy December off erings.
To keep diners on their toes, the eatery
off ers seasonal menu items along with
its standards. Servers are also asked to
encourage customers to try something
they never have before. Diners unhappy
aft er taking the chance are off ered no
charge on the dish, Duarte said.
Saff ron also off ers an extensive wine,
beer and cocktail list, as well as a selection
of homemade sangrias. Seasonal off erings
also fi lter through the drink menu,
the chef noted.
Aft er trying a strictly Spanish menu
of tapas in the fi rst few months of operation,
the eatery struggled, Duarte said.
However, aft er going back to the drawing
board, he found success in combining
Spanish, Italian and French cuisines.
“Th e locals are nice people and they
know how to eat,” Duarte said. “I married
fl avors together to attract more local people,
but still kept that Spanish fl air.”
What draws people in to the warm,
wood-paneled space most is its glasslined,
corner-lot situation, the chef said.
“People love to see the outside, what’s
going on. Th ey don’t like to feel closed
off ,” he said.
Picking a favorite dish would be diffi -
cult for Duarte, a Ridgewood resident and
lifelong food industry worker who spent
years as a chef in the hospitality industry
before opening Saff ron.
“Th ey’re all my kids,” he laughed.
Saff ron is located at 161-50 Cross Bay
Blvd. and is open from noon to 10 p.m.
on Tuesdays through Th ursdays, noon to
11 p.m. on Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
on Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
on Sundays. Th e restaurant is also able to
accommodate small or large parties and
off ers weekend brunch.
To learn more, visit www.saff rontapasny.
com or call 347-392-4152.
Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS