An old friend of mine (think High School), came into town on business and we wanted to go out somewhere near Dupont Circle, where she was staying. We decided to try out Firefly, a bar and restaurant just south of Dupont. It was a Saturday night after 8, and the place was PACKED. Luckily, I had made reservations, something that I would recommend on weekend nights. They have only a very small bar section, 8 stools at the bar, and 3-4 bar tables. The decor is really cozy - there is a giant lantern hung tree in the middle, birch trunks along the walls, and candles everywhere.
The cocktail menu was really creative and we had a hard time choosing just a few drinks. I tried a grapefruit and campari drink that was gorgeously pink and perfectly bitter. My friend tried the Bacchus - involving vodka, white wine, and white grapes. Both drinks were strong but not overpowering. Later, we both tried the Opal - rum, chai tea, cream. Unfortunately it was WAY too strong, we could barely drink it. Not the sweet, creamy drink we were expecting.
The food menu is split into Picnic (small plates to share) and mains. Based on reviews I had read, we decided to order several small plates and skip the mains. I can't say whether we missed out on a main, but every small plate we had was fantastic. We had deviled eggs with smoked paprika, caper powder, and garlic chips. They were pretty addictive, but an order ($5) only comes with 3 eggs. We also had the roasted baby beets with goat cheese, pistachio, fig vinegar, and micro arugula. The creamy goat cheese and spicy arugula balanced the sweet beets perfectly. The cheese plate contained a smokey blue, triple cream cow, soft goat, and Gruyere accompanied by a cranberry relish and micro greens. The portions of cheese were fairly generous. Then we had the ricotta gnocchi with oxtail ragout, marjoram, and Parmesan - perfectly cooked, savory, comforting. We also ordered a side of Parmesan truffle fries that were heavenly - served with some kind of tangy dipping sauce. This were so addictive that we had to order a second batch - paired with a sparkling wine as suggested by the bar menu. At this point, we were ridiculously full, but interested to try the desserts after seeing how playful the dinner menu was. We decided to split the caramelized banana split with ginger, maple-cinnamon, and vanilla ice creams. The cinnamon ice cream was our favorite, followed by the ginger - which was studded with bits of crystallized ginger - the vanilla got a bit lost with the other flavors. I LOVED the crunch of the caramelized surface of the banana, combined with the creamy interior. I may have to caramelize all of my bananas at home now.
All in all, it was a wonderful meal - fun, whimsical, and playful. I would definitely recommend it for getting together with friends. The decor is perfect for dates, but it was really loud - so maybe better on a slower night?