Wednesday, August 19

Firefly Kitchen

I recently ventured out to the border of Evanston and Wilmette to check out a new restaurant bringing "A taste of Brooklyn" to Chicago's North Shore. Firefly Kitchen is a warm and inviting bistro serving upscale comfort food and a curated wine and cocktail menu. Firefly is a collaborative effort between New York native and chef Dean Salerno, and James Pierce, former head of The Bar at The Peninsula Chicago. Pierce features unique local and small batch spirits and a selection of signature cocktails. The wine program also compliments the bistro’s menu.


No detail goes unnoticed in the space, from the various song lyrics on the walls, to the light fixtures reminiscent of the restaurant's namesake. There's also a lovely 35-seat outdoor patio behind the restaurant which makes you feel like you're dining in a friend's backyard.

Firefly Kitchen
Dining Room
Firefly Kitchen
Dining Room
Firefly Kitchen
Dining Room
Chef Dean Salerno offers a seasonal menu made from scratch and inspired by his upbringing and experience in restaurants in New York City. Trained in classic French, creative American, and Pan-Asian cuisine, Chef Salerno’s menu offerings include comforting dishes like a grilled romaine steak salad, hibachi skewers served on a tableside grill, truffle mushroom risotto, and multiple styles of fries and chips. 

The night I dined I enjoyed a special lump crab cake with roasted fennel and Meyer lemon. This dish was fantastic because it had no filler, just large chunks of crab and seasonings.

Firefly Kitchen
Crab Cake
Another fantastic starter is the Napoleon tartare with salmon and tuna tartare underneath a potato gaufrette. The generous dollop of creme fraiche on top adds a decadent creamy texture.

Firefly Kitchen
Napoleon Tartare
Hibachi skewers appeared to be a popular starter on the night I dined. A mini hibachi grill is delivered tableside along with your choice of chicken, steak, or shrimp skewers. Each skewer is served with a housemade sauce, including an amazing peanut sauce for the chicken, and a chipotle sauce for the shrimp.

Firefly Kitchen
Hibachi Skewers
Entree options are quite plentiful, including salads, sandwiches, fish, chicken, steak, and vegetarian items.

Firefly Kitchen
Firefly Kitchen Entrees
We tried a little of each protein including the pan seared salmon with oven dried tomatoes, escarole and white beans. This was my favorite entree because the salmon was perfectly seared with a nice, crisp crust. The beans and escarole had wonderful garlic flavor as well.

Firefly Kitchen
Pan Seared Salmon
The roasted organic chicken has a beautiful presentation. It's completely deboned, wrapped around itself, and topped with fresh thyme. On the side you'll find potato croquettes, broccoli rabe, and roasted garlic cloves which are perfect for eating (as long as you're not on a hot date).

Firefly Kitchen
Roasted Organic Chicken
The Salerno burger was just OK in my opinion, partially because it was overcooked, and partially because the accompanying fries were lackluster. However, the housemade pickles were a nice touch.

Salerno Burger
We also tried an order of duck fat Parmesan and herb fries from the variety of fry and chip options on the menu. I didn't taste the fat but I did enjoy the roasted jalapeños and sage on top. You can also order sweet potato fries or one of several varieties of housemade chips, which were much better than the fries. We tried the BBQ chips with a chef-made spice blend, and the goat cheese fondue fries which were utterly addicting (not pictured).

Firefly Kitchen
Duck Fat Parmesan and Herb Fries
While Firefly Kitchen does not yet make their own desserts, they do support a local bakery, JR Dessert Bakery, by serving a variety of their cakes and cupcakes. We sampled the carrot cake (my favorite), flourless chocolate cake, and a caramel cupcake. If you're looking for something sweet, it will do the trick, but it's nothing to write home about.

Firefly Kitchen
Carrot Cake
Firefly Kitchen
Caramel Cupcake
Firefly Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Cake
If you're looking for an excuse to head out of the city for quality food in a friendly and relaxing environment, give Firefly Kitchen a try! It's also conveniently located within walking distance from the Metra Central Street station.

Firefly Kitchen is open for dinner seven days per week and also serves weekend brunch including dishes such as stacked pancakes with passion fruit purée and caramel, and prime rib and egg stuffed Yorkshire pudding.

Note: my meal at Firefly Kitchen was complimentary; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own. 

Firefly Kitchen
111 Green Bay Road
Wilmette, IL 60091
224.408.2464
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