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vengroff

Firefly

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I stopped in recently for a couple of glasses of wine to try to wash away thoughts of the disaster that my kitchen remodeling project has become. They are in the middle of a summer rosé event, and it seemed like the perfect time for one. A week or so ago I had a Spanish rosé that was something like a cheap chardonnay mixed with rasberry kool-ade powder. I counted on John to have something that would turn me back on to pink wine. I had a Montesierra Rose from Somontano, which did the trick--a glass of smooth easy-drinking light fruit.

I decided to stay for dinner at the bar, and had a nice dish of crisp-skinned duck leg confit atop wilting frisee. It proves that the French still have a place in modern American cuisine. It also made me appreciate how well frisee can work as a real vegetable, as opposed to just another salad green. I finished with a light crisp key lime cheesecake with coconut cream.

After my experience at the bar, I'm looking forward to going back for a full meal at Firefly soon. There are a lot of interesting looking bottles on the wine list too. For the price range, it's nice to see something other than the standard big-name producers.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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Get a triple order of fried oysters and a bottle of Darioush viognier. The short ribs are savory and tasty, too.


Mark

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Firefly is one of my new favorite haunts - safe for me to say since I've been there three times in the last week.

The rosé festival is wonderfully refreshing (literally!), and Sietsema was right on when he said to try it with the yellow tomato soup. I think the rosé from Touraine for $18 is a marvelous match for this, even though it isn't a "big" wine. And then there are the fried oysters which are like little XTC fritters they're so addicting and good. The salmon on a bed of black-eyed peas and green beans is fascinating. So much to like here, and the wine list is hip and so very reasonably priced. Let's not forget also that the apps here often run under $10 and sometimes as low as $6.50. $6.50 for a half-order of their wonderful gnocchi is charity and surely a loss-leader. Get a couple bottles of rosé, try some of the dishes I recommend here, let the staff recommend 1-2 other small courses, and then tip them generously for their hospitality. You'll be in heaven, and it won't break the bank. I love Firefly, enough where I'm going back yet again next week to turn on a friend. John and Tricia are a formidable and elegant team as chef and manager. I think it's best to go early in the week when they aren't quite so crowded, by the way.

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Another great "on a whim" night. More notes tomorrow as I'm beat. Suffice it to say that John W and Tricia were gracious and charming. And we had many a glass of various pinks, reds, and even tawnies.

Good night, and we're open to suggestions for the next time around...

Mr Dente


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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It was great to see everyone, and thanks again to John and Tricia, our most gracious hosts.

The oysters, gnocchi, and lamb steak were all big winners.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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Yes, thanks all for a fabulous time. I got some pictures of most of the plates, plus I took some notes so I should be posting a summary soon. (It may not be till early next week, but I swear it's coming!)

What did ya'll get for dessert?

I'll be there on the 25th, but hope to get together again before then. :biggrin:

Thanks, John and Tricia, for a wonderful time. What a fun restaurant!

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Malawry's got pics of the food, and one of all of us. Much pink wine was enjoyed. I loved the oysters, salmon app, and the yellow tomato soup. My steak main was perfect. Of course the company was perfect too. Nice to meet a couple of new folks - new to me at least. Let's do this again.

M, I had the Key lime cheesecake. Cheesecake isn't my first choice usually but this was very good - light and refreshing and the coconut cream was *really* good.

Thank you John and Tricia. You have a lovely place that I can't wait to back to.

P.S. John, what was that tawny you brought out? I love to hunt some down for myself.


Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I got pics of most of the food, though not all of it. (I forgot to take pictures in the bar, where Chef John sent us some snax, and then I left before dessert.) I hope to get them up after I arrive in NC this evening, but it may have to wait as long as till early next week. We'll see.

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I am a little tired and not happy to be at work (rolled in at 9:30) after a long but fun and tasty night.

Big fan now of the Pink wines. I really liked my salmon entree - especially the cassoulet - and the chocolate and peanut butter parfait, but the highlghts for me were the fried oysters, the onion and chorizo tart and the lamb steak entree. I've never had lamb quite that tender and flavorful - good job John W.

Looking forward to the next time we get a whim and my next visit to Firefly.

From what I've seen we have a pretty good group of people here. I hope to meet more of you.


Bill Russell

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I hope someone gorged on Johnnie's fried oysters. I usually get a double order.

That was all the birthday present I needed. Those oysters rule.

Besides, I celebrated last week when I was in Florida, so this didn't really count.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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I heartily second all the praise - especially of the lamb and the oysters! I hadn't actually eaten an oyster since a bad experience at age 10, but I would absolutely get these again - they were truly fabulous.

The corn soup and the peach dessert were also lovely - I really wish I'd had room left to finish the peaches. Maybe next time, and there'll definitely be one; gotta have more lamb and pink wine. :biggrin:

I do hope this becomes a regular thing - it was a lot of fun meeting everyone, and it's a good excuse to get to places I haven't tried yet.


"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard

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I heartily second all the praise - especially of the lamb and the oysters!  I hadn't actually eaten an oyster since a bad experience at age 10, but I would absolutely get these again - they were truly fabulous. 

The corn soup and the peach dessert were also lovely - I really wish I'd had room left to finish the peaches.  Maybe next time, and there'll definitely be one; gotta have more lamb and pink wine.  :biggrin:

I do hope this becomes a regular thing - it was a lot of fun meeting everyone, and it's a good excuse to get to places I haven't tried yet.

If it was on a Monday night, you might get to meet more of us.........


Mark

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I pick next time. So it'll be on a Monday. Mark, maybe you and I can host next time?


Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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I pick next time. So it'll be on a Monday. Mark, maybe you and I can host next time?

Excellent!


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Whim Night at Firefly

Seven of us convened at Firefly last night for rose wine, fun, food, and banter with John W. and Tricia. We started off in the bar with rose by the glass. (I didn't note the wines or remember to snag a wine list, so somebody will have to contribute what on earth we drank. I just remember it was refreshing, summery, and very very pink. I felt very avant-garde drinking pink wine.)

While we chatted in the bar, Tricia brought us a bunch of snacks. Unfortunately I did not get images of any of these, but boy were they fantastic. Two orders of the fried oysters were placed between us. Crisp-fried, spiked with pepper, served with a little ramekin of chipotle tartar sauce. Hjshorter stepped away from the table briefly after having eaten only one. The rest of us had each had two and were sort of daring each other to be a pig and eat the leftover. Just as Vengroff and Bilrus were starting to lean over Hjshorter returned. "Oh, is that mine?" My heart sank along with her teeth. Next time I'm getting my own order. We also enjoyed some house-cured gravlox with lemon oil, capers, chive sticks and some preserved lemon slices. I thought the seared tuna starter was the best tuna I'd eaten since visiting Joe Fortes in Vancouver; several thin rare slices were leaning on a formidable pile of deep green watercress. A fat slice of grilled eggplant rested under the greens. Finally the seven of us were somehow expected to share a chorizo tart, with caramelized onions and a squiggle of mustard sauce in a puff pastry shell.

We moved to our table around 8 and immediately started wishing we could each order everything on the menu. Almost everybody ordered a starter. Bilrus ordered another chorizo tart as his starter, so I managed to snap an image when it came:

i00005.jpg

Hannah selected the etheral corn soup as her starter, a cold sweet-savory treat with a little pluche of crab salad and cucumber in the center:

i00007.jpg

Hjshorter's tomato soup was pretty special, too. It was warm and soothing, bright with yellow tomatoes and accented by tomatillo cream in the center. i00014.jpg

Vengroff and Al Dente both ordered the potato gnocchi from the "bowls" menu (items on this menu are available in small or full portions). Vengroff mentioned that there was just enough potato in them to hold the butter together. I noted with pleasure that the gnocchi were pan-fried, making them an especially efficient conveyance vehicle for butter. They came with some favas, chervil and creme fraiche, but really, they could have come on an NSF-certified cutting board for all I cared. They'd still rock, and they kick the butt of most of the gnocchi I've had from DC chefs. i00009.jpg

By the way, let me say at this point how grateful I am that everybody let me stick my camera in their plates. I am especially grateful that I tasted almost everything that came around, so I can note the flavors instead of just working from pix and the menu. I didn't actually order a starter but I stuck my schnozz, spoon, and very nearly my fingers into every dish anyway. Anybody else would have asked me to leave or at the very least stared at me.

But wait, there were entrees too! Chef John had mentioned the lamb minute steak as a particular point of pride for him, so I just had to order it. So did a couple of other people; I think 3 of us wound up with this terrific entree. The large, thin steak arrived topped with cherry tomatoes and flavored with rosemary. As I ate this I was remembering boning out a primal cut of lamb at school, and how happy I was that lamb smells lamby even when it's raw. It's a happy memory, the first time I felt confident about boning meat. I never would have thought to make a minute steak out of lamb but it definitely worked. i00011.jpg

Hjshorter selected the steak frites as her entree. A big chunk of sirloin came with an onion sauce, thin ancho-chile mustard, and a happy pile of watercress. A cone of frites arrived on the side. The steak was succulent, almost beer-like in its rich/grain flavor. i00013.jpg

Bilrus chose the salmon with blackeyed peas, bacon and red wine after I told him he could have a chunk of my lamb steak. Chef John described the beans as cassoulet-like, and they did have that satisfying meaty, slow-cooked peasant flavor to them. The red wine vinegar looked like a broken vinaigrette around the plate, very pretty. The bacon smell made it very hard to sit next to Bilrus as he ate this dish, and everybody at that end of the table was sniffing mightily when his plate arrived. i00012.jpg

Our own Al Dente chose the duck leg confit as his entree. This is the only plate I didn't get a chance to sample. The menu describes it as "Crisp duck leg confit with whole grain mustard, asparagus stir-fry and preserved shiitakes." It sure looks good: i00008.jpg

These terrific corn gratin casseroles were set on the table along with our entrees. They were bursting with that summery sweetness and bound together with plenty o' cream. I told Chef John, "This doesn't suck." i00006.jpg

I had to leave before dessert time, and I'm sorry I didn't get to sample the peanut butter parfait et al. I did manage to have our server take a photo of the guilty parties before running out the door, though. i00010.jpg

Seated, left to right: Hjshorter, Vengroff, Hannah

Standing, left to right: Bilrus, me, Al Dente

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Great pics. Thanks, Malawry!

One thing I forgot to mention about the lamb steak is the small marrow bone embedded in it. If you order this steak, be sure to poke the marrow out and spread it on a crust of bread.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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Darren,

You are, as the Germans say, einmalig Great commentary. I actually spit coffee on the screen when I got to "This doesn't suck". thanks

What do you expect from Wabeck? He's a baller. Next time you talk to him, ask him about the recent barfing incident at the Minibar. You'll die laughing.


Edited by Mark Sommelier (log)

Mark

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He admitted to some late night exploits the other night, but refused to divulge any arrest info.

Barfing incident? :hmmm:


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Nothing to see here folks.

I only admit to a "poohtato incident.


Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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ask him about the recent barfing incident at the Minibar.

I knew Adria, Andres, et. al. were pushing the limits of cuisine, but barf? That's wandering into Fear Factor territory.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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It's not what you think.

And the mini-bar is certainly not implicated in this by any stretch.

Slater, the next time I see you I'm going to make you drink your favorite beverage with regular coke, not diet.

Again, the mini-bar is not implicated in this at all. No slander suits, no chasing after me with knives.

The only thing the mini-bar is guilty of is providing damn good food and a damn good time.

Really.


Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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Nothing to see here folks.

I only admit to a "poohtato incident.

John W.'s celebrated Labor Day pootato recipe:

2 dozen new potatoes, scrubbed and oiled

salt to taste

place on grill, hood closed

drink copious amounts of wine, wait for thick smoke to emerge from grill

remark curiously about flames shooting from bottom of grill

pootatos are ready when skin is scorched black and inside is raw

Remove pootatoes from grill, place neatly in refuse receptacle.

Doesn't serve 8.

Voila! Pootatoes. :laugh:

NB: The name derives from friend Jarad's use of the word "poo" in place of the more common Anglo-Saxonism "shit".


Edited by Mark Sommelier (log)

Mark

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Again, the mini-bar is not implicated in this at all. No slander suits, no chasing after me with knives.

The only thing the mini-bar is guilty of is providing damn good food and a damn good time.

For the record, my comments should be read as if they were followed by a smily-face. I assumed that it was obviously enough a joke to not be necessary.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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