"In a word, let me say that Firefly is great. I have been there repeatedly and have not been disappointed with anything."
May 21, 2003
By: Leslie Teicholz
Remember when catching those elusive little lightening bugs in your hands and stuffing them in your mom's wide-mouthed mason jar was a your favorite summertime activity?
Laura Shack, owner/chef of Lenox's new hot dining spot, also holds on to the delight of that memory. She calls her remodeled "new" restaurant, Firefly, hoping that her dining public will reminisce as well and enter 71 Church Street feeling relaxed and joyful. Thankfully, she spared us a flickering interior lighting scheme. Instead, the dimmed lighting has the warm orange and yellow hues that a jar full of fireflies might emit.
Firefly metamorphosed from Roseborough Grill last month with much fanfare; the only thing lacking was a band. Hundreds, or so it seemed, showed up on three consecutive evenings to sample tastings from the new menu; ahi nori rolls, deviled eggs, chorizo and a deceivingly "gulpable" housemade sangria.
Bored with the old and in with the new was the motivation behind the six-month renovation and creation of a new menu.
Having a newborn child was not enough to keep Shack busy. With the help of sous chefs Zee Vassos and Alex Weisberger, her day begins at 1 p.m. and ends 12 hours later. Shack used to do all the backing, but now, Yvette Hitchcock helps her with that task.
In a word, let me say that Firefly is great. I have been there repeatedly and have not been disappointed with anything.
An interesting and innovative fusion menu is like an open invitation for me and keeps me coming back if coupled with excellent service (friendly and efficient) and a lovely setting (thanks to architect Thomas Douglas) and of course, good food.
Getting a table has not yet been a concern but I suspect it will be once the "season" begins. No problem! Sit at the bar and enjoy the tapas offerings: white bean hummus and grilled pita bread, marinated artichoke hearts, chickpea salad, chorizo in Rioja wine or saut̩ed garlic shrimp, edamame, or minced vegetable Salpicon salad. If you're like me, this will be more than enough for dinner but it would be a shame to not try something from their main menu.
There are two dining areas, other than a commodious bar area to move to, balancing your Firefly martini in one hand while still grabbing a handful of salt roasted almonds with the other. Your choices? The white tableclothed room for a slightly more formal setting and the more sedate lounge where you might feel more at home if you bring your less well-behaved kids or infants. In either room you will be well fed.
A curried cauliflower soup was their daily soup choice on one of my visits, and it was spicy with a hearty consistency made with a vegetarian base and potatoes for texture. The roasted asparagus with garlic and parmesan cheese was delicately flavored with the curnch of the grilled parmesan on top being an added treat.
My favorite are teh ahi nori rolls with Asian au jus and a soy ginger dipping sauce gently coated in a light tempura. This appetizer and a salad could suffice for a meal but not perhaps for a large, hungry person.
The Southwestern Chopped Salad was almost a meal in itself: a generous portion of romaine hearts, grilled farm-stand corn, black beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, avocado, manchego and pepitas, dressed with a maple chipotle vinaigrette. This is quite an assortment of vegetables and textures with a subtly sweet and spicy marinade.
The entr̩es got high praise, not only from us but from the neighboring table as well.
"The cornish hen is superb," was one diner's review of this bird served with caramelized onion mashed potatoes. Another thought that the "special" that evening, a grilled South American escolar filet was, "as good as any fish I've had."
I tried one of the "lite plate" choices a lemon garlic grilled escarole with chickpea salad, roasted tomatoes and grilled asparagus. Why this is called "lite" I don't know. I ended up taking most of it home. I'm now tempted to grill all my salad ingredients the flavoring from the grill and the citrus/garlic seasoning was excellent.
If you like pasta, Firefly's version, al Ceppo (actually means "pasta on a stick") is an ample bowl of gemelli-like pasta mixed with grilled asparagus, roasted sweet peppers, arugula, Rawson Brook Farms chevre, caper crisps, and Gulf shrimp. The creamy goat cheese seemed to absorb all the flavors of the dish and added its own tang to the mix.
Asian barbecued ribs with Pacific Farms wasabi mashed potatoes and braised baby bok coy more than satisfied the meating-eating family member.
For dessert, don't forget to order the jumbleberry pie (formerly Roseborough pie) a mix of starwberry, raspberry, blackberry and blueberry served with a dollop of real whipped cream.
It isn't exactly de riguerur to ask your server to join you for dinner, but ours was so charming it was a temptation. Service was friendly; the table settings lovely with oblong, square and triangular celadon dishes replacing the traditional round white; and the prices reasonable.
Franck Seguin, the dining room manager, helps Shack make it all work by overseing this accomodating staff and ordering the wines.
"Lenox needs a place like this," said our dining neighbor.
Laura Shack agrees. She loves what she does, loves Lenox and wanted to create a restaurant that was good for everybody in price, range of food and variety.
I think she has succeeded.
From casual cocktail parties to elegant and formal dinners, Firefly offers catering services for a wide range of events. With menu choices to delight all palates and options for every budget Firefly will make sure your event is truly memorable. Contact Firefly today to start planning your celebration.