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Review: Firefly, Manchester, NH

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | March 31st, 2009 | Restaurant Reviews
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Friday night and no kids around, we decided to head out for dinner.  We thought about visiting our regular series of independently owned, upscale restaurants in Nashua but decided we were in a more adventurous mood and wanted to try something new.  A quick online search provided a place to try- Firefly, located in downtown Manchester.

Arriving at the restaurant about quarter to eight, we were told our wait would be 15 minutes.  Although the bar was crowded, we chose to make our way there to order cocktails.  A quick review of the drink menu, found what I thought would be the perfect drink for me: Red Velvet, a combination of Effen Black Cherry vodka, Chambord, cranberry juice, and a champagne float.  My husband ordered the Firefly Dirty-tini, which was made with Zodiac potato vodka, blue cheese stuffed olive, and olive juice infusion, in a celery salt rimmed glass.

Sadly, our introduction to this restaurant was not very good.  My drink tasted nothing like the description, as it was very heavy and had a strong chocolate flavor.  Neither of those two describers are qualities that I like in a drink.  My husband’s drink was well made, but he should have read the description carefully.  As noted above, it had a “blue cheese stuffed olive”.  In all of the martinis he has ordered, ever, there have been at least 2 olives.  Who only garnishes a drink with one medium sized olive?  (Once seated our waitress did tell us they are hand stuffed, but so are most of the olives that he receives in groups of 2 or 3 at our favorite locales.)

After sitting near the hostess station (as the bar area was very crowded) for 30 minutes, we were taken to our table.  We were greeted within minutes by Anjal, who was a terrific waitress.  She offered to take our drink order, but we declined, noting our dissatisfaction with our first set of drinks.  Anjal shared the evening’s specials with us and left to give us time to decide.

Viewing our menus and being very hungry, it didn’t take long for us to decide.  Anjal returned promptly, and we placed our orders.  I asked for her to leave the wine list, as I figured the bar couldn’t provide wine poorly.  Anjal brought a basket of warm bread to us, which was tasty.  While nibbling at the bread, we decided to order a bottle of Mionetto Il Prosecco.

Anjal brought the prosecco and made a wonderful presentation of the bottle opening and serving.  For the price ($36.00), it was a solid sparkling wine.  It was light and dry with a hint of fruitiness.

Shortly thereafter, she delivered our salads.  My husband chose the Spinach and Pan Fried Goat Cheese Salad that also included smoked bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated olives, toasted pine nuts, and a sweet tomato dressing.  The salad was full of great flavors and thus devoured quickly by my husband.  My salad was the Caprese, which actually is found in the starters section of the menu.  Served as a stack, there were layers of golden and red vine-ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and ribbons of fresh basil topped with a balsamic reduction and olive oil.  This was delicious, though probably would be better in the summer when tomatoes are fresher.  However, the chef made a wonderful dish with the ingredients available.

Timing was excellent for our courses, as there were a few minutes for conversation between the retrieval of our salad plates and the delivery of our entrées.  The Braised Lamb Shank (my husband’s choice) was fall off the bone tender.  However, both the lamb and risotto lacked seasoning and flavor.

I must have been in the mood for stackable food on Friday, as my dish was the Eggplant Napoleon: breaded eggplant, roasted tomatoes, spinach, and asiago, surrounded by a drizzle of balsamic reduction and topped with a parmesan crisp.  The dish was delicious, but a lot for me to eat, so my husband was able to enjoy some of my meal also.

Although we were quite full from the two courses, we decided we should linger and sample a dessert.  Anjal recited our options, and my husband ordered the carrot cake, as that is my favorite dessert.  As I already was being indulgent, I ordered a coffee with Frangelico.  Thankfully, the bartender was able to add the liqueur to my drink without issue.  The carrot cake was wonderful.  The cake was moist and full of shredded carrot, and the frosting was sweet but with enough cream cheese in the mix to offer a contrast.

Although our initial experience was pretty bad (poorly made drinks and a wait time twice what was quoted) and one of our meals being lackluster, we will try this restaurant again.  However, we will be more specific with our drink orders and try new dinner items.

Though the carrot cake might be worth tasting again.

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