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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

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In Dining

The unlikely marriage of flat screen televisions, chandeliers and moderately priced, solid fare and cocktails works well at Firefly. (PHOTO: Damien Legault )

In Dining

Returning patrons will notice little change in the décor at Firefly. (PHOTO: Damien Legault )

In Dining

Service at Firefly was prompt, and the servers were well-versed in the menu items. (PHOTO: Damien Legault )

Bjonda morphs beautifully into Firefly Urban Bar/Grill


Fans of Bjonda and Gracious Catering were likely somewhat skeptical when Bjonda, the high-end Wauwatosa restaurant, morphed into Firefly Urban Bar and Grill, 7754 Harwood Ave.

Bjonda, which was known for its high-quality and high-priced cuisine and cocktails, seemed an unlikely candidate for successful transformation into a more casual sports bar meets upscale casual dining eatery. But as seems to be the trend in recent months, this unlikely marriage of flat screen televisions, chandeliers and moderately priced, solid fare and cocktails works well at Firefly.

Returning patrons will notice little change in the décor at Firefly, but new touches like red gingham napkins and a two-sided menu heavy with appetizers immediately bring you into the restaurant's updated theme. Firefly offers 12 "pre-fire" options with everything from tuna tartare ($13.25) to hummus ($8.25).

Two separate visits to Firefly were both outstanding, with every item we sampled excelling in both presentation and taste, and aside from a slight timing issue during a busy Thursday night dinner, the service at Firefly proved exceptional, also.

Nachos ($9.95) were plated on a large rectangular serving platter with each individual tortilla chip laden with roasted tomato salsa, a mild shredded chicken, refried beans and Monterey jack cheese. Beer crust pizza with lamb sausage ($11.50) featured a light, sweet and pleasantly yeast-heavy crust with tiny pieces of lamb sausage, pickled red onions and scamorza cheese (similar to a firm, somewhat salty mozzarella) for a wonderful flavor combination. Fondue ($7.75) was a creamy gruyere and white cheddar combination served with granny smith apples and slightly toasted dipping bread.

Micro Burgers ($12.95) from the sandwich selections featured a decadent trio of juicy mini burgers with mushroom boursin, gorgonzola and smoked onion mustard, and smoked bacon and white cheddar and came with choice of two sides; hand-cut, double-fried fries and simple slaw were good accompaniments.

The "fire" section of the menu offers chicken, pork, lamb, beef, shrimp, pasta and vegetables with various smoked or grilled presentations and a varied selection of sauces for sampling including chimichurri, mole, and feta cucumber to name a few. Beer braised beef brisket ($17.50) was wonderfully flavorful and well-complimented by smoked mustard, Caribbean jerk and poblano rioja sauces. A side of mustard leek potato salad was interesting and delicious.

A chili soy Mahi Mahi ($19.25) was also excellent, and sauces of Thai mango salsa, cilantro pineapple and gingered chutney all worked well with the dish. Creamy polenta and skin-on, chive mashed potatoes were also excellent.

Service at Firefly was prompt, and the servers were well-versed in the menu items. Unprompted, our server provided several recommendations, and aside from entrees appearing a bit too soon on one visit, timing was excellent. We were also pleased with the tag team service employed at Firefly. From entrance to exit, every associate made us feel welcomed and important, a rare service art these days.


Talkbacks

booboo16 | April 2, 2008 at 5:27 p.m. (report)

i was totally confused with the whole concept. upscale sports bar (which evidently is all the craze right now)? i'll go to leff's or major goolsby's to watch the game and give me bjonda back!

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AceRockolla | April 2, 2008 at 3:46 p.m. (report)

We went for the first time over this past weekend. Very impressed with the food (crunch salas, fondue, brisket plate and chicken sandwich). They also had a good selection of beers/cocktails. Service was excellent, very attentitive. The main dining rooms were nice, but I also agree the LCD TVs were a little much. Not horrible, but did seem out of place. Also, we were initially seated by the door but it was kind of drafty so they moved us to a better table which I appreciated.

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littlelamb | April 1, 2008 at 9:36 p.m. (report)

TV=LAME I will NEVER go there!

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