Friday, January 28, 2011

Fireflies and Firsts

After having a wonderful experience with L on Saturday, I decided to branch out and try Alexandria's restaurant week. Looking on the web, I thought I found a pretty good deal at this restaurant called Fireflies (they had a 3.5 on yelp so I thought they would be decent). They were offering a "Dinner for 2-35$" promotion in which you could pick any 2 starters, 2 entrees and a dessert...sounds great right? Yeah, I could not have been more wrong.

I made a reservation for 4 at 7:30, and we ended up getting there a little late due to traffic and other minor factors but I did call and let them know we would be there at 7:45.

Stepping into Fireflies, I was surprised by how small it was, but it looked like it had potential and I got really excited. We were seated promptly and received a small bowl of popcorn.

I had printed out the menu to look at it in the car (I like to be prepared), so we all knew what we were going to order in advance.

30 minutes after we order, our appetizers come out. At this point we were all cold (sitting right by the door so every time it opened we were hit with a fresh burst of cold air), cranky, and ready to eat.

What we were about to receive was not about to improve our moods.

Ally is allergic to wheat, so she ordered the french onion soup and asked them to leave out the bread-not an unreasonable request. A's soup comes out with a nice chunk of bread in the middle. Politely, she sends it back to the kitchen. A few minutes later, the exact bowl of soup comes back out with the hunk of bread simply removed, and little chunks remaining, and no cheese. She ate probably about a 4th of the soup, and without cheese to balance off the spices of the soup, left it -- pretty unappealing.
even w/o the bread it should not look like this
After A had received her appetizer with bread on it, she double checked with our waitress to see if she had made sure the creamed spinach that was suppose to come with her entry had flour in it. In an offended tone, the waitress went back to check and let A know that there was indeed flour in the dish. A had to reorder 45 minutes later (we should have already had our entrees by this point) because the waitress failed to make sure for the 2nd time that flour was not included in her food.

Randolph decided to try something new so he ordered the Deep Fried Olives "served smothered in our marinara with melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheese." Well, when the order came out, it was not recognizable. The olives were soft and chewy-not a fried consistency as the name would suggest. The sauce was overpowering and there were not enough olives. I tried it but I am not a fan of olives so I can not give the best opinion but not one of the four of us enjoyed the olives and I thought the marinara was very unsatisfactory.
Does this look appealing to you?

For my appetizer I decided to stay in my box and order the Spinach and Artichoke dip, a classic, safe and delicious pick. Wrong. When the dish came out, the top was charred and crispy. After breaking through the top layer (which is supposed to be delicious and cheesy) with a knife, I finally got to the spinach. It tasted like frozen spinach, it was bland, dry and overcooked, and there were no noticeable artichokes or cheese flavor present. A described the spinach as chopped instead of wilted, which is the proper consistency :). I did not finish the dip, but because Greg and I decided to split the app's he ended up finishing this dish due to his overwhelming hunger.
The 2nd app G and I decided to get was the Winter House Salad "romaine lettuce with dried cranberries, toasted pecans, red onions, apples and a cider vinaigrette." It was by no means a gourmet salad, but it was the best dish of the night. All of the veggies were fresh, and there was a decent amount of lettuce, dried cranberries and pecans. The apples, onions and dressing were seriously lacking. We asked for an additional side of dressing which the server brought to another table, and we had to re-request and wait an additional 10 minutes to get the extra side (keep in mind this place is very small-maybe 10-15 tables tops-and less than half of them were eating). After receiving the extra dressing the lettuce was quite tasty, and everyone enjoyed it.

Sadly this is where the fun pictures and the dining experience ends(lucky for you, you didn't have to wait over an hour to figure this out). After having our water cups empty for the majority of the night, and getting a snotty retort that our server's "friend" was coming over to refill our glasses when we asked for refills. This was the last straw. R went to the host stand to ask to speak to a manager (turns out the guys standing less than 5 ft away from us for the duration of our supposed meal was the manager) about why we had not received our dinner for over an hour, he went to go check it and told us it would be out in a few minutes and failed to apologize for the delay. After waiting 5 minutes, we just asked to leave and he said that was fine.
Just in case you were curious what it looks like, I was too angry to take a picture of the outside, photo credit from Alexandria Daily Photo

I have been to restaurants where service has been extremely slow, or some of the food has not been perfect, but there has always been some redeeming quality. We never heard a word from the waitress as to why our dinner was taking so long, or pretty much any word at all from her. They were not conscious of allergy concerns, and not once was there an apology issued. When we brought it up to the manager, he made us feel like we were doing something wrong.

Never in my life have a I completely "stiffed" a server or walked out of a restaurant. Guess there is a first for everything.

1501 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA
703-548-7200

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