Firefly Bistro (South Pasadena) -- Review
I want to love Firefly Bistro. I really do. It has all the elements I enjoy. A small, family run business, a cute neighborhood, easy to get to, unique setting, great service.
Went last Friday night, for the first time. We sat at a two-top kind of off to the side, not directly under the tent. It was a lovely spot to sit definitely felt like our own private table.
I liked the fact that the tables were well spaced not cramped at all. I liked what they did with the space very casual, backyardish-romantic. Fun lights hanging from the tent area.
Service was very good if not overly attentive. Toward the end of the meal, the owner came by and chatted for a while. Its his daughter and son-in law that are the chefs. Very friendly guy. Again, I want to love this place.
On to the chow:
Pork Dumplings and Pear Salad with bacon.
I was not anticipating what came out very crisp (almost chip like) large empanada sized dumplings sprinkled with a lot of paprika. The pork inside was good, but the actual dumpling didnt do anything for me. It was served over black beans and this strange green dipping sauce I forgot what the menu said it was but I did not like it a very odd flavor. Cant say Id get them again.
The Pear salad was nice. It had bits of bacon and a wonderful vinaigrette. It was a good salad.
I had the Oxtail Risotto. I found the Oxtail very fatty. Now, the waiter warned me that the dish was rich but, I felt like I was eating chunks of fat, instead of meat. A bit of a disappointment I wouldnt try it again. My dining companion had salmon the bite I had was very good. He thoroughly enjoyed the dish.
Dessert: Crème brule (vanilla and chocolate) layered pudding served with a chocolate chip cookie. OH MY GOODNESS. It was so light and creamy just melt in your mouth amazing. It was as dense as crème brule, yet the pudding factor is what made it so creamy. Absolutely brilliant. The best Ive had in a very, very long time. The vanilla was on the top half, the chocolate on the bottom. I didnt care for the chocolate (and I love chocolate) fortunately, my dining companion did so I scooped up all the vanilla goodness! The chocolate chip cookie was just okay ate a small bite and didnt want any more.
Damage: 2 appetizers, 2 mains, 1 dessert, 1 cocktail, 3 glasses of wine (they have a fantastic cabernet by the glass James Judd, I think YUM!), 1 glass of port pre-tip: $123 Considering, without the drinks, the bill would have been about $70 I did think it was decent value for what you got.
Again, not knock your socks off food but I have faith in this little place. It has such potential. I definitely plan to try Bistro K and Bistro de la Gare (all within a stones throw) and see how they compare and will return to try my luck with other dishes. Its a great, summer night, neighborhood spot. Casual enough to gather with friends for a relaxing meal or just romantic enough for a date night.
Yep, I couldn't agree more. The atmosphere is great, the setting is great, the service is pretty good, and the food leaves me a little cold.I went for brunch last year, for dinner a few months ago, and again for dinner a week or so ago. The brunch was really nice (I remember a stellar Danish with plums)the crab hash was delicious but TINY.Dinner--other than a kinda odd salad that had roasted tomatoes and apples (pears?) I don't remember too much about the first dinner. Guess it just wasn't that memorable. What I do remember is the desserts. So so good. I had a to die for lavender panna cotta and my husband had that grapefruit tart other
chowhounders have mentioned. Luscious. I just recently went back for dinner, and it was a little disappointing. I wasn't expecting so much from the appetizers and mains, to be honest, I was mostly there for dessert. The service was good, but, the food took forever and wasn't very warm when it reached us. And then the desserts,we got a lemon pudding cake and a cobbler, just weren't as fabulous as I remembered. Still good, just not GREAT. Definitely not worth driving all the way across town.
A friend celebrated her birthday dinner at Bistro K a few weeks ago and it was FABULOUS and the prices were great. That one I'll drive to So Pasadena for.
Yet another voice echoing yours...want to love the place. The food is OK to good, but has the potential to be so much more.
My best experience at Firefly was with a weekend brunch. All of the baked goods were quite lovely. They had a good sangria, too. I'll definitely go back because I like the place, and the overall experience (counting atmosphere & service) is a pleasant one. But it does seem that several of the dishes don't quite deliver on the promise of the ingredients, which is too bad. This place could really be fabulous.
Your review is spot on. WE, too, want to LOVE this place for all of the reasons you mentioned. We've been several times over the last few years and have never been wowed, except by a few brunch plates and dessert. They are stellar at dessert- their key lime pie was a favorite; they changed it to a pink grapefruit pie that was even better. The brown butter cake with caramel ice cream was heavenly and the homemade breakfast pastries are also amazing. It's too bad that the savories don't come close to the sweets. To be fair, the crab hash on the brunch menu is a favorite of mine but nothing on the dinner menu has ever impressed me. I wish them luck and do want to see them succeed, but they need to do something to overhaul the dinner menu.
Bistro K, also in the area, is just heads and shoulders above them in both quality and value since there is no corkage at Bistro K. Insanely complicated but well done food that is as impressive as any high end Westside restaurant.
A couple of Sundays ago, we had much the same experience as you've described. Such a lovely setting, and everyone was so darned nice. The cuisine just couldn't come close to the atmosphere. One diner in our party had the baby back ribs, and found them quite fatty, and with limp french fries. Not to mention her starter of their version of Caesar salad, which she really did not like. No one had desserts, so nothing to report on that end. My entree was perhaps one of the best ones at our table of seven. I had a shrimp and grits type of dish, and it was good. Not saying that I wouldn't go back, but I'm looking to read some "improving" posts, before I do the schlep to Pasadena again.
Jeff, next time try Bistro K as it is quite good, and with no wine list, you get to BYO with no corkage.
Laurent Quenioux is a very talented chef who formerly owned the 7th St. Bistro in downtown LA until the rents got too high. 1000 Fremont.
lqmanagementservicesinc.com is the web site for further info.