Finally got a chance to try out Firefly Bistro last Saturday. I have to admit I have mixed feelings about it, and was surprised the main courses far outweighed the appetizers in overall satisfaction (it's usually the other way around for me at most places). The dishes were good, but nothing was mind-blowing, except maybe the brussel sprouts. I guess I sounds jaded; the element of surprise is still the most difficult thing to get at many restaurants these days. I am talking about the same "wow" you get when biting into the best fish taco you've ever had and paid $1.50 for at some dinky stand as you get when you slice into a tender filet mingon with some magical sauce on it that you gladly forked over $32 for at Valentino's. I'm guessing that Josie, judging from the recent posts, is the place where you get that feeling again and again, vist after visit. I realize that you pay the price for that, but I wish there were more places that had the ability to knock my socks off, particularly when you go to a well reviewed or higher priced restaurant. That said, Firefly was completely enjoyable, but not surprising...
For starters, I ordered the artichoke and machengo cheese beignets which were really bready- not much cheese flavor although the tomato sauce surrounding it was tangy and tasty. Husband and friend had the much touted rock shrimp with pinapple ceviche. There were pieces of shell throughout, and although the heat level was perfect it was not as wonderful as S Irene's review made it sound. Pineapple chunks, shrimp, and pepper- that seemed to be the extent of it. Another friend had the dungeness crab fritters, which were basically crab cakes shaped into a ball as opposed to the usual disc. They were very overdone- dark brown and a bit on the dry side. The grilled endive salad with pears, beets and walnuts was probably the best starter- the baby beets were tiny and perfectly complimented the bitter endive halves. I must admit the one standout before we got our main courses was the garlic butter that comes with the bread basket. It was smooth, creamy, VERY garlicy (but not in an irritating way) and spiked with tiny flecks of red pepper which really added to the flavor. Spread on slightly sweet, warm wheat bread...I would have been perfectly happy with that all night.
For the main course, I was satisfied with my lamb which came with brussel sprouts which were fried to a deep black. At first I couldn't decipher if they were baby onions or potatoes since they had such a rich, nutty flavor-you'd never guess it was a green veggie! The side of mashed sweet potatoes and carmelized pistashios were also a nice match to the savory lamb. Friend had the very dynamically presented whole striped bass stuffed with garlic and herbs. Very moist and flavorful throughout, but not something you want if you don't like "working" for your food; i.e. many bones to pick out while eating it. Luckily, said friend likes the idea so it was a perfect choice for him. Husband had the fall veggie pasta- fetuccine loaded with chunks of butternut squash, carrots and wild mushrooms which was orginal and delicious. Another friend had the pork chops with dumplings, also tender and sweet.
For dessert we all split one order of the liquid middle chocolate cake which was rich and warm, oozing with a soft center. We had brought two bottles of wine ($7 corkage each) and the total with 4 appetizers, one salad, 4 entrees and one dessert was $180. Not bad at all- I think the only real disappointment was that the appetizers did not at all live up to the lively descriptions on the menu. The service was excellent and the ambience can't be beat. Overall, the quality is high for such a young restaurant but the menu reads better than the food actually tastes in many cases- although I'm confident that it will only get better. By the way- we went on the rainiest night of the weekend (Saturday) and the tempreture was not an issue at all- the tent is very warm and cozy with no hint of a draft whatsoever.