Firefly was one of the first nice restaurants that we discovered upon moving to DC. B found it online and we've had several nice meals there since. The dining room at Firefly is designed to look like an outdoor scene, with a large tree in the middle and twinkling lanterns all around. The check is presented in a glass mason jar with holes poked in the top: just the kind of jar that east coast kids probably caught fireflys in during hot summer nights.
This visit wasn't one of Firefly's best days. The waiter struggled mightily with the menu (trouble explaining dishes, bringing the wrong sides, etc.) and the food didn't particularly stand out. However, I think every restaurant is entitled to an off day, and I'll probably go back in hopes that this night wasn't the sign of a slip in Firefly's service and cooking.
I started with the Chicken Matzoh Ball Soup, which promises that it is a family recipe. It was a classic execution of this tummy-warming dish: rich chicken broth with one large flavorful matzoh ball.
B started with the Shrimp and Grits, which featured warm grits topped with shrimp and grilled vegetables. It was packed full of flavor and a dish that we'd definitely order again.
My entree was where the night had its biggest "miss." I ordered the Seared Yellowfin Tuna BLT with Avocado. The menu describes it as served on multi-grain bread with lollo rossa salad. When I ordered it, the waiter said they were out of multi-grain bread so I said that white bread would be ok. Little did I know that "white bread" would mean plain, tasteless, Weber's-esque white bread. It wasn't grilled, wasn't toasted, wasn't anything. It was so bland that it really took away from the sandwich. I ended up ditching the bread and eating the insides only. I really don't see why a staff member or manager couldn't have run to the store for some bread before resorting to serving an $18 sandwich on tasteless bread.
B had better luck with his pan roasted market fish. It was some sort of white fish served over braised fennel and spring garlic quinoa.When we return to Firefly I'll likely stick to their fun Urban Picnic menu, which features cheddar and beer fondue and crab dip served with crusty bread. I appreciate the kitchen's dedication to using fresh, local ingredients and the cozy atmosphere is enough to make me come back again and see if next time, this Firefly shines a little more brightly.
Second Thoughts from B
Despite the Southern and Eastern slanted dishes, not to mention the name, the feel of Firefly is reminiscent of many small Bay Area restaurants. It is cozy and comfortable, and usually serves fresh, interesting food. Too bad this wasn't one of those times.
While J harped on the bad, let me sing the praises of the good... and this visit, the good would be the grits. As your typical Southern California kid, my only exposure to grits was from the movie, My Cousin Vinny. Several years ago however, I sampled some homemade jalapeno cheese grits in Atlanta and have been hooked ever since. So far my search has been mostly unsatisfying but Firefly's version is outstanding. Again, I'm far from a grit expert but these might have been the magic grits that Vinny was talking about...