This last weekend, I went to Las Vegas with a large group of my friends for a wedding. One of my goals was to eat somewhere fun and different in order to get a good review. I mean, let’s be honest–the buffet at the Excalibur wasn’t going to cut it–and neither was the bag of white cheddar popcorn that I ate on the way down. Las Vegas is known for its amazing chefs and restaurants, but at the same time, I didn’t necessarily want to throw down a lot of money. This was a budget conscious trip and I hadn’t set up a review anywhere specific in advance.
While dodging the 100 degree weather at 10:00 AM in the hotel pool, a few friends of mine mentioned The Firefly, which has two locations–one in the Plaza Hotel near the old part of the strip and one actually in a strip mall on Paradise Road.
My first thought: “strip mall? really? how good could this be?”.
The second we walked through the door, the strip mall exterior vanished from my memory. This place was super hip. The front half was a lounge, which oversized couches and chairs and the back half was the bar with more restaurant type tables. We chose to sit in the lounge and make ourselves comfy. The ambiance was very art nouveau with almost a Spanish dancer flair; blacks and reds with brightly colored paintings of women dancers. It was quite eclectic and warm.
The Firefly is a tapas restaurant. So, we had several different things to choose from and we were all able to order several items. However, the first item of business was a tasty beverage after being in the 113 degree heat.
Welcome, pitcher of Sangria. How nice of you to join us.
Don’t let the fruit fool you. This was a fairly strong beverage–and the flavor was very refreshing. I think I would have chosen more berries to adorn this beautiful beverage rather than pears and apples. The pears and apples didn’t really soak up the juice of the sangria and stayed rather hard. But, I wouldn’t say this was a point of complaint.
I ordered three different dishes: Artichoke Toasts ($3.50), Ceviche of Shrimp ($8.50), and Roasted Eggplant Cannelloni ($5.00).
The Artichoke Toasts were quite the hit. There were enough on the plate to share with a larger crowd, and at $3.50 for the plate, this is one of those items you can’t go wrong with. The pepper, aioli and pesto were a good mix of flavors and added some complex notes to a very simple dish. The artichokes were large and tender and the toasts weren’t too crisp.
The Eggplant Cannelloni was superb. The goat cheese was rich and creamy and melted in your mouth. The eggplant was thinly sliced with the skin left on, but there was no bitterness from doing so. Sometimes too much of the skin can leave a bitter taste in your mouth, but this was not the case. The plate was topped with tomato sauce, and a little fresh basil. This dish = most of Nosh Maven’s favorite things.
The highlight of my tapas choices, however, was the incredible Ceviche of Shrimp. Ceviche can be made many ways, but it always includes seafood of some kind and is served cold. This was some of the best ceviche I have had. The broth was very intense and tangy and there were plenty of tiger shrimp to go around. The ceviche was garnished with a perfectly ripe avocado and came with three crisps corn tortillas for dipping. This was a light, refreshing, simple but intense dish and perfect for 113 degree Las Vegas weather. If you are looking for some bang for your buck, then this Shrimp Ceviche is for you.
A few of the other items that were ordered to the table that must be noted are the Manchego mac ‘n’ cheese backed with baby shells ($8.00), The Stuffed Piquillo Peppers red peppers, fresh mozzarella, garlic cream cheese, tomato sauce ($6.50), Veggie empanadas with spinach, mushroom, artichoke, herbed cream cheese in pastry, red pepper aioli ($4.00), and the Warm spinach salad with artichoke, red pepper, pine nuts, feta ($5.00). All very reasonably priced items and mighty tasty.
Also, don’t forget about dessert! The Firefly had one of the best dessert items I have ever tried: Banana-Nutella sandwiches w/Nutella cream dipping sauce. We ordered one and then promptly ordered two more. These were little slices of heaven in the dessert. And the dipping sauce–wow.
Overall, this place was great. It was away from the casinos and away from the processed, greasy, over-sized food of Las Vegas. Next time you are in the city of sin, take a short drive and check this place out for dinner or even an evening out for drinks.