We have not been to Firefly in Manchester for a few years and thought it was time to give them another try. They had recently been voted one of the best travel worthy destination restaurants by FlipKey, the Vacation Rental blog of Tripadvisor. Before we give them a thumbs up to our loyal readers or having anyone travel a distance to visit, we needed to check them out again for ourselves first.
Finding parking at Firefly can be a little tricky. Although they are located at 22 Concord Street, there isn’t that much on-street parking so I'll let you in on a little secret. They have a small parking lot in front of the restaurant and to get to it you need to sneak down Lowell Street. Just before the Red Arrow Diner on the right there is a parking lot. Turn right and drive down to the end until it looks like you can't go any further. There is a slot at the end where you can go right again and you should see the front of Firefly and their small parking area. Just be careful to make sure you are parking in their allotted spots. If you have any doubts check with someone inside the restaurant.
Upon entering we were greeted nicely by the host and were seated near the front in one of their half booths close to their bar. I have been to the bar a few times and it seems that this is one of the main reasons people visit Firefly. The bartenders know how to make a drink and there are also a number of tables for those that are trying to entertain a business client. My wife enjoys their martini selection.
Our waitress stopped by as we attempted to figure out what to have for dinner. Having snacked on ice cream a little earlier in the day we were in the mood for something light and started with a couple of salads. I selected a garden and my wife a Caesar and these were well made. After the salads some rolls and butter were brought out. While they looked good, we soon discovered that they were dry and I think they had rosemary baked throughout. Since we both detest rosemary, we were not impressed.
For our entrees we chose two different seafood dishes. My selection was their grilled Atlantic salmon:
When I order fish I almost never order it with pasta because it never seems to go together. I neglected to read the full description in the menu and was surprised to find that this was served with a goat cheese ravioli. However, after one bite, I knew that this was a wonderful dish. Served with asparagus in a lemon sauce everything complemented each other perfectly.
My wife ordered the catch of the day which was baked day boat cod with cherry tomatoes in a lobster sherry sauce over primavera ravioli.
While the overall flavor and presentation of the dish was good, she wasn’t too impressed with the spinach ravioli which seemed to be undercooked. Perhaps this would have been a hit if served with a different starch.
As with past experiences at Firefly, the service on this particular night started out great but somehow quickly goes downhill. Our server took our order, brought our drinks, and filled our water glasses promptly and then it all ended. We were forgotten about for the rest of the evening. A few seconds after the entrees arrived she asked "how is everything? We couldn't really answer because we hadn't even taken a bite of our entrees. Other than that we didn't see much of her after the start of the meal.
During our meal, the manager asked if I wanted another drink. When I commented that my soda tasted strange he said he would go check on it. After waiting for at least 15 minutes, I started to think he was never going to come back. We were able to finally flag him down (despite the fact that the restaurant wasn’t overly busy) to ask if he had solved the problem. Offering no apologies, he said that he had checked and there was nothing he could do and asked if I wanted something different to drink. I said no and that I could just take more water. While to some this might seem like a minor issue, it makes us wonder if anything would have been said had we not been proactive.
Overall The Firefly American Bistro & Bar left us with mixed feelings and we are not sure we agree with FlipKeys top destination ranking. The chef should be complimented as the entrees we had were very good but the service needs some definite improvement.