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I was wondering if there is a good time to visit Firefly. My husband and I went there one evening after a Friday DR HH at Notti Bianche (it's obviously been a while). It was so noisy there (we were over by the tree) that I felt like we were yelling at each other across the table. As a result, we haven't been back, though I thought the dinner was excellent. Is it always like this? Would a mid-week visit be better?

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I was wondering if there is a good time to visit Firefly. My husband and I went there one evening after a Friday DR HH at Notti Bianche (it's obviously been a while). It was so noisy there (we were over by the tree) that I felt like we were yelling at each other across the table. As a result, we haven't been back, though I thought the dinner was excellent. Is it always like this? Would a mid-week visit be better?
I would go any time you like, but sit at the bar and order dinner there. It's much quieter and the full menu is available.
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Noooooo!

"After 4 1/2 years at his contemporary American restaurant, Wabeck, 38, is leaving in March without a job prospect. A longtime devotee of wine, he says he's mulling "the wine thing" or "the kitchen thing," meaning he's undecided about whether to focus next on a wine or cooking project." From The Weekly Dish in today's Post :lol:

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Noooooo!

"After 4 1/2 years at his contemporary American restaurant, Wabeck, 38, is leaving in March without a job prospect. A longtime devotee of wine, he says he's mulling "the wine thing" or "the kitchen thing," meaning he's undecided about whether to focus next on a wine or cooking project." From The Weekly Dish in today's Post :lol:

Sad news indeed. I'm sure Robyn and I will be there at least once to eat before he heads out.
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Souper Man Will Return

[posted on eGullet January '04 from my soup tour]

*******************************************************************

"Eggs are a good investment now and then, expensive or not, and unless you are told otherwise by your doctor, or hate them in any form, they should be eaten in place of meat occasionally. The old fashioned idea that they are 'invalid food,' something light and inconsequential, is fairly well proved foolish by the fact that two eggs are fully as nutritious as a juicy beefsteak...and ten times as hard to digest unless they are cooked with great wisdom."

-M.F.K. Fisher, "The Art of Eating"

*******************************************************************

John Wabeck cooks with great wisdom.

Right now he has two soups [egg drop was the other] that hi-light the egg, and if you eat them both, it's like giving your soul a juicy beefsteak.

Wabeck's creamy turnip soup with bacon-n-egg crust is the newest and was one of many reasons for my jaunt to Firefly Thursday night.

To have gone home after work, comforted by some souless carry out, bad television, a goose down throw--that would have been a dreadful mistake. But for some reason the thought crossed my mind.

I ignored it, though, and put on my souper hat and gloves, polished my silver spoon... and made my way to Firefly.

I arrived, and the place was warm, buzzing and glowing with life. And waiting at the bar for me, my friend, Soupernatural. Oh yes, good company, good times.

Creamy Turnip Soup with Bacon-n-Egg Crust

The soup comes to me in a nice big bowl, sans fancy pours or shaves of imported delicacy; no vague or rehearsed descriptions. It's just a hot bowl of soup, free of disguise. The soup's color, a creamy rose, has a lavender hue in the amber bar light. On top, defying gravity, a float of minced bacon and egg in a somehow delicate lace of buttered bread crumbs.

The eggs and bacon are made tender and are naturally vibrant in color; in the soup they have a soft-boiled consistency, rendered slightly by the light crispness from the crumb.

I had imagined something different; an encrust that might compare to the cheese atop your French onion soup...or maybe some metamorphosis of a pot pie. No, this float of bacon and egg is unique. I haven't seen this one before.

The old pair, eggs and bacon, are a part of one of Wabeck's all-star casts; honest and comforting with an element of surprise. Treasure at the end of a rainbow.

Goodbye tree, goodbye roof, goodbye tool shed, goodbye Rooks. Goodbye codmopolitan (garnised with a cod-piece shaped piece of cod), not to mention, favorite chicken, foie gras burger, slutty lamb shoulder and tomato bread puddin'.

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My breakfast this morning is lamb steak and garlic mashed potatoes from last night's impromptu dinner at Firefly. Faced with a choice of eating in the city or sitting in traffic for ages, Mr. BLB picked dinner.

We started with the oysters--as always--and I moved on to the lamb while he had the cumin dusted mahi-mahi. I can't stand cumin so I didn't try it but he was quite pleased.

We talked about our deepest wish that Chef Wabeck would do a greatest hits review before he leaves--damn, but we miss those spring rolls.

Everything clicked for us last night--our last few visits we have been very happy with the apps and then less happy with the entrees. This time everything was wonderful.

Alas, I had no room for dessert.... Would love to know what others think of the Mexican Panna Cotta.

Jennifer

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We, too, had no room for dessert. But that's entirely Chef Wabeck's fault, as the food was just too, too alluring. Plus, we weren't even able to give our fond farewells, as Chef was out to dinner with the suits. Nonetheless, it was a lovely meal -- just as fine as when it opened, which was when we started going to Firefly. I started with the duck confit bread pudding. I think it's fair to say that Tripewriter's lucky I didn't have a sharp knife on my side, as he loved this dish. I loved it too, and the wine that Alyx, our fabulous waitperson, provided was seriously perfect for the dish. Tripewriter had the oysters to start and we shared a cone of truffled frites. Crispy, salty, delicious! But no match for that bread pudding. Next I had the leek soup -- sooooo good! It was salty and rich and filling and delicious, and the white wine that was brought to me was lovely with it. Tripewriter had the beet salad, and the one taste I had of it made me begin to rethink my beet aversion. Finally, I had -- of course, for those who know me -- the risotto. Chef Wabeck's risotto was the first thing I ever had at Firefly, and it's kept me coming back. I must confess that after the perfectly salty soup, I had to season my risotto just a bit to prevent the gorgonzola from taking over the dish, but it was very nice, and the new white wine (and I do apologize for not focusing on the wines -- I was really savoring the food! But William, who's been there since November [and whom I'm assuming chose our wines, though it may have been the cheerful Alyx], chose some very, very nice pairings) was lovely. Tripewriter had the pork, and he was so full at that point, he took it home for lunch today. Our greatest sorrow was not having room for dessert.

Chef Wabeck, we've watched your restaurant grow from construction through your departure, and it holds many, many special memories for us, some of which were relived last night. Thanks for your hospitality, your introducing me to the joys of rose, and, it goes without saying, the food.

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I tried, and loved, the beet salad the other day. The horseradish and dill sauce balanced it perfectly without overpowering at all. The rest of my meal was wonderful as well, but I have been craving more of the beet salad ever since.
It's also a great foil to the stir fried shrimp with candied ginger which had more of a kick than I was expecting.
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I had the Duck Confit Bread Pudding (with Gruyere and Leeks) and found it to be a wonderful dish! Moist and savory - it was the perfect dish for a cold winter's night (and even more perfect as it started to snow that very evening!) I am always a sucker for duck confit and the addition of the salty-sweet gruyere really added something special to this play on a classic bread pudding.

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Last night Robyn and I went to Firefly after an evening at the Improv. Let me tell you, two drink minimum and a terrible mc makes me watch my watch to get to Firefly. Robyn had never been to Firefly before so I felt it imperative to order a bunch of things from the menu.

Amuse-kinda-bouche- this wasn't so much an amuse as a taste of what's to come from the kitchen after chef Wabeck leaves. It was kind of a rice cake with a mildly spicey sauce cut with some soy with shrimp and veggies on top. I can see that Firefly is about to lean in a new direction, though I'll be honest- I hope it's not this cuban asian fusion thing. I've never been a huge fan of that. OK, I'm digressing

Things weren't really done as much in courses as a bunch of plates:

Pork Rillettes- These are so simple that they often remind me of things that my mom would do in Indiana (where I was born) though these are with a lot more clarified butter and better seasoned. It's a good thing my mom doesn't read this. I adore the rillettes here, though I'll admit it, I liked them more when they were duck. That said, these were excellent.

Serrano Ham- I love charcuterie. I can eat cured meats all day long. This was truly a treat for us. Robyn spent time traveling in spain and this brought back memories for her of the museo del jamon. She loved this and I did too. Perfectly savory.

Lamb Minute Steak- I've had this more times than I can count and adore this. Perfectly medium, perfectly seasoned, so tasty. Robyn and I were both in heaven.

Mac & Cheese- I'm going to say it right now. I was downright pissed when this was taken off the menu in the past. This is my favorite side at Firefly and has been for a long time since I started coming there. Only one note- could have used a touch more salt, but that's why we have salt at the table. Simply wonderful again.

Cheese course- the Pecorino and the Livarot are two of my favorite cheeses in the world. Both were on there and were extremely good.

Wine: 2001 Barrel Monkeys from Australia. I love this Shiraz and I don't even like Shiraz that much.

Truly a great meal and cheers to chef Wabek. I think we might even try to make it in one more time before you head elsewhere.

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There were too many things on the menu I wanted to try to hit them all last night, but I did my best. I loved the beet salad and ended up--despite my efforts to restrain myself--sopping up the extra horseradish cream dressing with slices of baguette (that's just like adding croutons, um, was my rationale :lol: ). I couldn't decide between the stir-fried shrimp and the oysters so ordered both and split the oysters with my husband, who doesn't like shrimp. The wild rice corncake that came with the shrimp was a wonderful surprise. I'd like to try that just on its own. The sauce for the dish was perfectly not-too-sweet. I dunked a couple of the oysters in the remaining sauce that came with the shrimp and those flavors worked pretty well together. The chipotle dipping sauce was a perfect match for the oysters, though. The oysters managed to be crispy and fluffy at the same time.

I finished with the three cheese risotto and wish I had been less full so I could savor it more. It's such perfect comfort food for a freezing night. The cheeses complemented each other well, and the texture was just right. My husband had planned to split it but was full after his Bibb salad and roasted half chicken and frites. I've got plans for the leftover risotto today B)

My husband loved the chicken, proof that the simplest seeming dishes can be the best. I could tell just from looking at the chicken that it was moist and delicious. I only got one bite :unsure: , but that did confirm my prediction. The garlic frites that came with it were salty rather than garlicky, but oh were they good.

Our waiter was excellent, and service all around was quite good.

Best wishes to Chef Wabeck in whatever he does next.

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Here's a tip: on the drink menu, order the "Blossom" with Hendrick's gin instead of vodka, on the rocks. You're welcome. :o

The slow cooked pork with paprika and olives is very good with Rioja. And the Mexican panna cotta with salted almonds is one of the best desserts I've had so far this year (but I am all about salt with the sweet stuff).

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Robyn and I went to Firefly for a very pleasant brunch on Sunday morning (11:30)

She had the NOLA Bloody Mary and I had a couple of mimosas. I was in the mood for champagne :o Both were excellent.

We split the crispy oysters whose sauce was a touch hot, a touch spicey and reminded me of a nice new orleans style preparation. The oysters were delecately fried so as to be soft in the middle and wonderfully crispy on the outside.

I had the bennedict which was huge. The best part was that the size of the english muffin was so balanced to the size of the egg- if the muffin or egg is too big you can't get it all in your mouth. Yummy

Robyn had the 3 pepper goat cheese omlette which was perfectly prepared.

Total check, a heavy $75, but it was a very good meal nonetheless. The alcohol is where we really took the hit- 10 bucks a piece for mimosas.

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Ok. How 'bout we give him until after the NCAA BBall Tournament is over, which is when I plan to return to circulation :o (Final is Monday, April 2 soo maybe we can do an FF HH on Good Friday.)

Edited to add: Any word on what Wabeck is going to do?

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Had lunch there a couple of weeks ago it was okay. Just okay. The menu has changed significantly, and I'll have to try it a few more times before I can say that it's still a favorite neighborhood spot.

I opted for the crabcake w/ caraway slaw. Crabcake was fabulous....but the slaw was weird. The caraway flavor was too strong for me. My lunchmates had cobb salads, which were apparently very cobby and salady. Nothing exciting to report there.

For dessert, I had an apple tart with clove ice cream, which I did not like at all. The apples had been soaked in some sort of brandy/firewater and were extremely bitter - almost to the point where I couldn't eat it. The clove ice cream was quite refreshing, but not good enough to trump the bitter, verging on icky, apples.

Dining room was crowed. Service was good - in fact, it looks like some FOH staff stayed on, which was a nice surprise. I'll be back. Next time, for dinner.

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I also went for lunch about two weeks. The fried oysters were tasty but seriously soggy. :blink:

The fish and chips were very good, crisp and perfect. Worth the price? Probably not. Especially with Eammon's just over the river.

BLBaby woke up so I skipped dessert. Since Firefly isn't easily stroller navigable, I probably won't do a solo+baby lunch there again though we may try dinner again at some point.

Jennifer

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Does anyone have anything to report on the state of Firefly under this new regime? The dinner menu

has clearly undegone some major revisions, which is to be expected. The pricing seems a little strange to me.... but how's the food?

Alex

Maybe it's because I've been eating at Cochon and Herbsaint in New Orleans for the last few days, maybe it's because I've eaten at Firefly a lot under John Wabeck, maybe it's something else, but does that menu look a touch boring to anyone else? I mean there's plenty I could eat on there, but it seems a real step backwards from where Firefly was beforehand.
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The new menu makes one wonder if they consciously asked Bortnic to tone it down a little, in deference to hotel guests who -- on the whole -- may be looking for dinner rather than a culinary adventure when they eat.

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