Even before Saveur Magazine featured With Love, I put the restaurant in my memory bank as we drove through the North Side of town a couple weeks ago. The almost romantic-looking font on the exterior glass of the building had caught my eye, and I knew I just had to check it out. When I finally visited the restaurant, I had just read an article in Syracuse.com, followed by a food review of With Love posted a couple months ago…and I was determined to visit…so I went with my mother that same day.
The concept of With Love is really cool. In a nutshell, you have six months to explore international cuisine from a specific country before a new global theme takes over.
The food is prepared by culinary students of Onondaga Community College (O.C.C.), who are perfecting their skills in the art of plating, grilling, sautéing, slow cooking, baking, batter making, frying, and other cooking techniques. Made fresh, the With Love menu is comprised of “both traditional dishes and reinterpreted dishes.”
With Love’s Pakistan menu is available until the end of June, which is now different than the one I sampled. I must admit, I took my time to write this review.
The food that I purchased during my visit was:
This appetizer is substantial enough to serve as a meal, and is comprised of Granny Smith apple, chickpea batter, chaat masala, and mint-cilantro yogurt. The spicy masala flavor really stands out in this dish that you think will have a sweeter flavor profile than it does. I am in love with the accompanying mint-cilantro yogurt, which is minty with a kick, but offers no sweetness whatsoever.
With the exception of carrot cake, I don’t associate carrots with dessert, but Gajar Halwa delivers a delicious marriage of carrot, ghee, cardamom, almonds and pistachios. With a flavor reminiscent to sweet potato (in my opinion), Gajar Halwa literally tastes like someone scooped pie filling and topped it with nuts and golden raisins. The ghee adds a sweet, creaminess that you’ll want to savor. Overall, I think the dessert delivers an appetizing combination of flavor, sweet, crunch, and chewiness.
Made with green tea, cardamom, milk, and bits of pistachio, I had to try this hot chai drink. Our to-go cups of Pink Chai were sweetened for us, and after chatting with the host, we learned that a pinch of baking soda added to the brew reacts with the green tea leaves, which turns the beverage into this shade of pinky-mauve. It is best consumed hot, because as it loses its warmth, I feel a bitterer aftertaste emerges.
Two Salt City Coffees
My mother ordered two coffees, and she said that the brew was very good.
With Love takes credit cards, with the exception of American Express.
Hours of operation for With Love are:
- Tues. – Wed. for lunch: 12 – 2 p.m.
- Thurs. – Fri. for dinner: 5 – 8 p.m.
The restaurant is located at 435 N Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13203.
I did not sit in the restaurant to eat, but took my meals to go. The atmosphere is bright and welcoming, with intriguing visual touches. For example, I was told that the pay phone shown here was present in the original space. Engineering students from O.C.C. outfitted the pay phone to speak a phrase from the language associated with the restaurant’s featured country. I picked up the receiver, and sure enough, a pre-recorded message played. How cool is that?
There is also a dastarkhan situated by the picture window. Sitting in this cozy area means you are expected to abide by their ‘shoes off’ policy. They also provide socks for a small fee, if you like.
I will definitely return to With Love to sample additional entrees. The Pakora Trio, made with baby eggplant, baby spinach, green banana, chickpea batter, and chaat masala, has caught my eye on the current menu.