I used to recommend Firefly based on two visits that took place a few years back. I don't go downtown for dinner all that much because of the hassle. Metro sucks all the time and especially lately; driving is OK if you are going to a part of town that has ample parking garages but Dupont Circle is a serious problem in terms of parking. But I had a friend in town who was staying at a hotel on New Hampshire Ave and so I suggested we go to Firefly because it was convenient for her and I expected a reasonably enjoyable meal. I read the WashPost review last week.
Well, driving downtown on Veteran's Day was fine; parking was indeed a pain, but I snagged a space about four blocks away after circling a few times.
When I arrived at about 6:20, the restaurant was almost empty but it filled up very quickly. They were nice enough to seat me even though my friends hadn't arrived yet. The noise level and the heat quickly rose to uncomfortable levels - and we were at a table near the wall. It was probably noisier in the middle.
We ordered and received a pail of rolls very quickly (nothing to write home about) but then we waited and waited and waited and waited for the food. I guess the kitchen got slammed. My food was really disappointing. I ordered two apps on the theory that apps are often better than mains and this way I could try two dishes. The shrimp and grits failed. The grits were mealy and cooked unevenly, as though they hadn't been stirred. The small fresh water shrimp were overcooked and hard. The pork rillette, served in a shot glass, was just as bad. It was so mushy and watery - more like pork puree - that I wondered if someone had put it through a blender. It was served with a tiny dab of cardamom applesauce, some slices of French bread, and about six beans that were so thoroughly dosed in vinegar (or maybe lemon or lime juice) that they were inedible. I like sour things but this was way too much.
We had asked for separate checks and the waiter said no problem, but then brought only one check. However, he was very nice about replacing it with three separate checks.
Maybe they are suffering from a case of too popular, too fast, as new places often do. Perhaps the closing/remodel and then the re-opening is pretty much the same kind of thing. Whatever the reason, it was really not an enjoyable meal.
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