So, I finally made it down to Safran last night. (I'm not a regular on this board so it took me a while to realize that Chef Laura had opened a new restaurant.) Having, literally, mourned the loss of Monsoon, I can't tell you how happy I was to find her again! Her new digs are pretty cool - minimalist space highlighted by the color orange (or safran!), airy dining room and great bar/bartender.
We ordered some of the bartender's drinks and were really pleased with them. I had a sake drink and my fiance had something with one of their infused vodkas. They also have vietnamese beer. We were originally seated next to a rather large and loud party but our lovely waitress came by a few minutes earlier and asked if we'd like to move to a more comfortable spot, which we did and appreciated.
I'm happy to report that a full half of the menu is Monsoon and the other half is new. Their summer rolls are still there, as are several interesting new options. I had the safran roll to start with and my fiance had the lobster ceviche. The roll was excellent and the ceviche was good, though a bit different than expected. When I think of ceviche I think seafood marinated in some sort of citrus. This was more of a lobster salad over greens and a nice vinagrette. It was still quite good, though.
We'd told our waitress that we were big fans of Monsoon and that we were so happy to find chef Laura again (as in when I temporarily moved to Dallas for school, my NYC visit routine included my fiance pre-ordering so that I could have my favorite meal as soon as I got home, and I'd always take an order of their hanoi cellophane noodles with me on my way back), so Chef Laura actually came up to speak with us and to tell us how please she was that we'd found her. She was such a sweet and lovely woman.
For entree we had the vietnamese pork chop and the seafood bouillabaisse. Both were excellent. The pork chop was perfectly complimented by the salad, green beans and new potatoes. It was almost like comfort food, but with a fabulous twist. And the bouillabaisse was soooo good. Light, refreshing, savory. Loved it!
For dessert, Chef Laura sent up complimentary banana cake with a drink that was amazing. The banana cake was sitting in a pool of coconut milk that cut some of the sweetness and came with delish sorbets. The drink (can't remember name - something pearls?) had tapioca and leeche, mango, melon, etc... It tasted like a liquid version of one of those asian gummy candies.
All in all we're thrilled that Chef Laura is back. Would highly recommend this place and I know we'll certainly be back.