Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/Dupont Circle
Oh man, we were struggling. Myself in particular. The day before had seen me investigate Pound the Hill, go through brunch at Montmartre, and dine out at Mandu, with plenty of date-y activities in between (Eastern Market and a Capitol tour anyone?). After a raucous birthday/going away party for Official Friend of DCWD Madison to cap the night, she and I were joined by Official Friend of DCWD Rajistan in the same morning routine: wake up groggy at 11:00 craving nothing more than brunch, and a furious wave of texts later, roll into something decent and head towards the nearest mimosa. In this case, it was Firefly.
Like a number of other restaurants (I'm looking at you, Marcel's), Firefly is a place I walked past about a million times and had never ventured into. In fact, the only thing I really knew about it was that our school paper at GW sent people there on blind dates. Otherwise, my entire knowledge was informed by whatever I could see from the windows: orange, and a tree.
Let's suss that out: Firefly's big decorative touch is a tree in the center of the dining area (I assume it's fake, but who knows). Small lanterns hang from its branches which reach the ceiling. The rest of the motif continues this trend, small tree trunks along one wall and wood everywhere, giving the restaurant a color scheme ranging from white birch to maple brown, with tan and cream and orange in between. The nature-y theme is continued by cobble stone walls and the presentation of your check in a jar that simulates a firefly.
Small single-bulb lamps hang above the equally small four-to-six-seat bar; track lighting provides the rest of the light. Seating is cramped in brown semi-thatched furniture, mostly four-tops, the two-tops seemingly all half-booths next to the aforementioned tree wall. This causes the whole place to have a real buzz about it.
Between $2 mimosas and French press coffee, we were actually able to order some food (hard as that was). Unlike most brunches I've had, it was actually easy enough for all of us to whittle down what we wanted, as long as we all shared somewhat.
Madison had herself a sun's special: a mushroom and cheddar omelet with home fries. While everything was cooked pretty well, it was actually sort of nothing amazing for me, the ironic not-very-special. It just didn't seem that terribly different from anything that any of us could have made.
On the other hand, Rajistan had the snake eyes, two soft-cooked eggs in a bread basket (or as I know them, eggs-in-a-hole), with country sausage and red eye gravy and potatoes. This was a dish that I wanted, and its flavor proved exactly why. Perfectly cooked eggs, a flavorful sausage, and just an excellent thing all around. Just the right dish to settle your morning.
After Rajistan's thievery of my first choice, I settled on my strong second choice: pop pop's French toast, or orange and vanilla dipped challah with apple-raisin compote. Let's just throw it out there: I'm not a huge French toast fan. My mom made it when I was a kid, sure, but like people's odd affections for meatloaf or tomato soup, it's just nothing that innately appeals to me as much as other things. I guess I didn't get why people love it so much... that is until I had this plate put in front of me. Wonderful sweet notes without being too saccharine, a complexity from the orange and vanilla, and a depth from the challah. And raisins... don't get me started on how I love soft raisins and what they add to a dish. This was a surprise beyond my imagination.
Sure, it's just brunch. But I've had bad brunch before from supposedly better restaurants, and it definitely snuck up on me on how good it was.
Food Rating: *** 1/2 (out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual
Bar Rating: Quiet Drinks
Cost: $$ to $$$ (out of 5) ($25-$50 for brunch, $50-$75 for dinner)
Pairing: Make a day out of chasing down Ben and Jerry's (especially on Free Cone Day coming up in May!). It's a personal tradition to try and hit all the DC B&Js for a free cone each (in college anyway, when I didn't have a job during the day), so the Dupont one will give you a headstart.