Itâ€™s Wednesday night at Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena, â€œWine and Songâ€ night. Owner Carl Weintraub ambles up to the stage at the behest of MC/host Brad Colerick. Strapping on a Martin acoustic, Weintraub is suddenly a gravelly-voiced, wizened whisky-soaked blues singer, detailingÂ his adventures on a tawdry night.
â€œThe restaurant is my other life,â€ he confides, after stepping off the stage. Firefly is that kind of a place. Not only does it offer an eclectic menu of favorites and specials, this is clearly a place for friends.
The wine and song night, for example, featured tonight, is called â€œa midweek soul-soothing spirit-lifting hootenanny.â€ That sounds about right. Tonight guitarist Mark Black and violinist John Roy Zat, were joined by a handful of visiting singer/songwriters for an evening of original folk and blues tunes.Â Thursday evenings feature â€œBurgers, Blues and Beer,â€ (or some similar order), which of course, is essentially as the name describes.
Tucked along El Centro a block south of Mission, Firefly Bistro sits at the site of a former junkyard. Just past the foyer, the dining room opens up under a series of connected industrial-strength tents. (Fear not. The room is warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.)
Co-owner/chef Paul Rosenbluh offers a widely varied menu, with an assortment of theme nights as well. Our Wednesday night menu featured â€˜Tacos for the Soul,â€ an assortment of tacos from Barbacoa Chicken, to Chorizo, to Fiery Grilled Shrimp.Â Our own menu selection was a thick and hearty Lamb Barley soup with a Braised Pork Shank entrÃ©e, set in a sweet potato puree, recommended by Weintraub himself.
â€œPaul is so knowledgeable when it comes to food,â€ adds Weintraub. â€œIâ€™m constantly amazed at the things he comes up with, but theyâ€™re always unique.â€
Speaking of unique, Firefly will offer up a Southern-themed New Yearâ€™s Eve evening this year, with a prix fixe menu of American Southern specialties. Southern, as in South Pasadena. Makes sense to us.
See you on Wednesday?
Firefly is at 1009 El Centro Street, South Pasadena. (626) 441-2443. www.eatatfirefly.com.