Though Firefly has been around for awhile and many people have been at some point or another, I'd still like to write a review for those who aren't familiar with it. Firefly is a Spanish tapas restaurant that has just opened a second location in the Plaza Hotel at the West end of Fremont Street. The food here is reasonably priced, fairly consistent, always tasty, and it is the perfect spot for a light bite with a neon view. I wish there were more tapas restaurants in town, as I believe they are the wave of the future in dining. People don't want heavy, expensive entrees anymore. The blossoming pallets of the American foodie public demand a sampling of a chef's talents. People are beginning to realize that the first three bites of any dish are the most rewarding and not much is needed beyond them. After the first three you stop analyzing flavors, interest in the dish begins to fade, and taste buds begin to get bored. This is the reason why tasting menus are so popular. The problem with tasting menus, however, is that they are too expensive, don't allow for personal preferences, and generally contain more courses than are comfortable to eat. In contrast, a tapas menu allows people to pick their poison, and their personal ration of that poison, so they walk away satisfied and ready to get on with the rest of their evening. In this respect, Firefly is on the right track.
Where they are on the wrong track is with the service. I have never had a good experience with servers here as it always takes forever to place an order, or to grab your waiter anytime thereafter. It is just poorly managed. On this particular night my brother and I sat at the bar and it took us a good ten minutes to order a drink, even though the bartender was right there. He decided it would be best to finish up the drink order for a party of ten before making our two little drinks, one of which was a bottle of beer. Isn't that the first rule of any service industry? Prioritize the people in front of you before those out of sight, especially when their requests are quick. After he was done chitchatting with the servers standing around waiting for him to finish drinks rather than tending to their tables, he eventually got around to us. He didn't even look at us while taking our food order but just stood in front of the computer as we shouted it to him and he entered it in. I wish this weren't indicative of the regular service at Firefly but that's pretty much how it's been for me every time.
Once you do grab your waiter's attention, the food generally comes out quickly and you generally get what you ordered. Plus, it's really tasty so you begin to forget about the people who brought it to you. The first thing we had were the bacon-wrapped, almond stuffed dates ($4) in red wine reduction with bleu cheese crumbles, which I have to get every time I come. They are sweet, savory, crunchy, and squishy, which makes for a happy mouth (even my brother who is allergic to nuts orders them and simply removes the almond). I especially like that they are not too large to consume in a single bite. The dates were followed by the stuffed peppers, mac n' cheese, steak skewers, and roasted eggplant cannoli. The peppers ($7.50) were OK, but the more satisfying vegetarian option was the eggplant ($5), not only because of price but because the cheese inside was creamy and herbaceous rather than somewhat tough and bland. They come with the same yummy tomato sauce so you won't miss anything with the eggplant. The steak skewers ($7.50) are a good deal, and the accompanying sauces are good, but the presentation needs some work. Finally, you can't go wrong with the mac n' cheese ($8). It's one of the more expensive tapas options but the portion is fairly large and it's baked to an appetizing golden brown. The cheese can be a little gritty on occasion but it's still hard to go wrong with cheese and pasta. Another favorite we didn't order tonight are the sliders with fried onions and spicy aoli. They are filling but delicious!
All in all, Firefly is a perfectly frugal place to get good versions of your favorite foods. Nothing will blow your mind but you will leave content in the fact that you haven't spent a fortune and your belly doesn't feel as stuffed as the dates. Oh, and well drinks are only $5, which actually is pretty mind blowing come to think of it.
Tonight's Food Ratings:
Stuffed Dates: 8.5
Stuffed Peppers: 6
Steak skewers: 7
Mac n' Cheese: 7.5
Roasted Eggplant Cannoli: 7.5
Restaurant Rating: 7
Would I go back? YES, WE NEED MORE RESTAURANTS LIKE THIS
Tip: If taking a date request a table that overlooks Fremont Street for a truly unique experience.
Mac n' Cheese
Roasted Eggplant Cannoli