In D.C.’s Dupont Circle Neighborhood, Firefly Burns Brightly

With its menu offering uncomplicated contemporary fare and its front windows seeming crafted solely for gazing past the reflected light of table candles and out into a rainy evening, Firefly DC is as much a beacon as its name implies. A five-minute walk from Dupont Circle Metro station, this restaurant with décor reminiscent of a forested hideaway is as perfect for first dates as for groups of friends catching up over after-work cocktails.

Given that the first sights to greet the eye upon entering this popular eatery are the row of trees trunks spanning the rear wall of the main dining room and lantern-bedecked floor-to-ceiling tree at its center, one could almost expect to find Firefly populated by sophisticated woodland creatures that have carved out a little piece of home in the heart of downtown D.C. These natural elements bring the space an organic coziness that blends seamlessly with its atmosphere of urban style, making it an attractive choice for booking special events.

As for menu selections, the portions are healthy, with small plates that mostly hover around ten dollars in price and entrees ranging from $17 to $27, with pan roasted market fish available at market price. Begin with the crawfish and sunchoke dip; it comes with crusty bread and tastes like life lived well. The braised lamb is tender, seasoned delicately enough to let the meat’s true flavors and juiciness shine, and is served over steaming pappardelle pasta with sorrel and mascarpone cheese. If you’re all about the seafood, then the pan seared scallops with celery root mashed potatoes should put a smile on your face. The only way to follow delicious meals like these on a damp Autumn night is with a generous “small” French press coffee, an affordable five-dollar feast-ender that yields no less than three full cups of dark-roasted satisfaction.

Lovebirds be warned: the noise level around 7 pm on a Saturday evening can rise suddenly. This can be said of many establishments, though, and is even perhaps to be expected as the mark of a dining experience worth pursuing (who wants to eat at a place that is ghost town-quiet?) While this has potential to make conversation a complicated affair for those unwilling to spend some portion of their meal shouting at their companions, it seems a forgivable sin.

Firefly’s Brunch menu offers a wealth of enticements as well, not the least tantalizing of its lures being the Green Eggs and Ham (spinach, gruyere, and Virginia ham quiche) and one-dollar Mimosas, although the light of day seems apt to sacrifice much of the ambience that nightfall and the flickering glow of lanterns enhances. This reviewer’s advice for an optimal dining experience: make reservations, go after dark, and for the love of good food, arrive hungry.

1310 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 861-1310


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