After an absence of over four years, Erika and I returned to Firefly on Sunday night. As we were celebrating a special occasion, we got all dressed up, grabbed a bottle of 1997 Clos du Bois Marlstone out of the cellar (okay, closet), and walked down the hill. Not wanting to offend our friends at Bacco, we marched our obviously-walking-to-a-nice-dinner-in-the-neighborhood-selves along a circuitous route. The joke was on us though: we risked discovery on the way home and saw an annoucement on Bacco's door that they had a special guest chef from Sicily doing a five course Southern Italian meal for $38, starting Oct 14 and ending that night. If I'd have know that...
But, I digress. Firefly. Excellent.
Shortly after sitting down in the dark, warm room we were given bread with split pea spread. The spread was a wonderful earthy, hearty, vegetal mash, basically a spreadable split pea soup. Foggy memories of curried lentil spreads come flooding back...
We both went for the $25 3 course deal. One word of caution: some dishes are fairly inexpensive ($4 apps, $12 entrees) so it may not be a deal in all cases.
We started with the salad of mache, goat cheese, walnuts, and pears. The dressing was a very acidic vinaigrette, though it worked well. The goat cheese was a very light and fluffy kind ("domestic Montrachet," was what the waitress said it was; she was unable to identify the producer). Very good.
The other appetizer was excellent. Delicata squash latkas with applesauce, sour cream, and token mixed greens with the same vinaigrette. The latkes by themselves were very good: soft with delicious squash. But a bite with some of the house-made applesauce, excellent. Another bite with the house-made sour cream, excellent. A bite with applesauce AND sour cream, OH MY GOD. Incredible.
The first entree was the blackened catfish. The fish was excellent: firm, fresh, lacking the muddy flavor that catfish sometimes has. The blacked crust however was far too salty. Three triangles of wild rice and grit cakes were mostly flavorless. Note, however, that the whole family of grits and polenta usually taste like nothing to me. The good news is that if you take a bite of the blackened fish and grits at the same time, the saltiness and blandness balance each other out. The ragout of black eyed peas, smoky andouille, and other mixed vegetables was delicious. Very good.
The other entree was the famous fried chicken. Crisp, cracking, delicious skin gives way to juicy, hot, flavorful chicken. Peas and carrots--both fresh--were sweet and surprisingly delicious. The mashed potatoes, gravy, and biscuits were also good and enjoyable, though better versions of all three aren't hard to imagine or even come by. Excellent.
First dessert was a pumpkin cake topped with, I think, whipped cream. I'm having trouble remember details about this dish other than it was a tall, spongy orange cylinder with some white stuff. There was nothing wrong with it, but for some reason it failed to imprint a memory.
The other dessert was a fig cobbler with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. The soft figs were topped with a tasty coffee-cake-like crust. The vanilla ice cream was a little stingy in the vanilla and sweetness departments, but it was nevertheless a good match with the cobbler. Good.
A delicate, drinkable $3.75 glass of Madeira went well with both desserts. Corkage was $15. Though it came with the $25 prix fixe, we were never offered coffee or tea. It had been a long weekend and I was anxious to go home and fall asleep, so I didn't really want the coffee anyway and therefore didn't ask for it. But I paid for it and I was annoyed that it wasn't offered.
So if you go, do not miss the latkes and chicken. The other dishes we ordered were also very good, but definitely explore other items on the menu that appeal to you.