Firefly SF vs. Firefly DC

Tuesday, 30 Dec 2008


Last night we had dinner at Firefly Restaurant in San Francisco’s Noe Valley.  (I previously said it was in the Mission, but my SF-dwelling cousin corrected me.  Thanks, Jess!)  The food was fantastic and the restaurant has a very warm, intimate feel.  On their website, the owners say that “they dreamed of a restaurant where the customers felt like they were at a friend’s house for dinner and that friend just happened to be a great cook.”  It seems they really have achieved this.  I had a great entree of fried risotto cakes stuffed with hedgehog mushrooms and goat cheese, but my favorite part of the meal was the salad — Sweet Gem Lettuce Salad with Roasted Beets, Croutons, Goat Cheese and Buttermilk–Anchovy Dressing.  Every component was perfect, and perfect together.  I noticed that there were several Jewish food items on the menu and this is when I began to wonder if Firefly might be a sister restaurant to Firefly in DC, where we dined during our Thanksgiving trip there.  The similarities, beyond the name, just couldn’t be ignored.  They are both homey, intimate neighborhood restaurants focusing on serving local foods.  Firefly DC has Matzoh Ball Soup and Mini-Poat Roast.  Firefly San Francisco serves a Latke and Applesauce appetizer and the Levy Family Brisket with Pot-Roasty Gravy.  The both of course have the requisite Firefly-themed paraphenalia all over the place.  Firefly DC gives you the check in a Mason jar with holes punched in the lid.  Firefly SF has a big Mason jar decoration on the wall as you walk in.  So, I asked someone at Firefly SF if the two restaurants were related.  He said no and half-jokingly said “Why, is someone trying to rip off our style?”  My first cursory search didn’t turn up which restaurant was founded first, so I’m not sure which is the “original” Firefly.  One possible connection I did turn up, however, was that Firefly DC’s executive chef Daniel Bortnick attended the California Culinary Academy in the San Francisco area and also worked in several area restaurants including Rivoli in Berkeley.  I will have to do a little more research to get to the bottom of this!

Finally, I just think it’s funny that I managed to have dinner with three of my first cousins (Jessica in San Francisco and Lauren and Mason in DC) at two different restaurants called Firefly on opposite sides of the country, within two months, and it wasn’t planned that way at all!

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