The Firefly Tavern was closed for quite a while, but it has been resurrected by Brandon Pierpont, a longtime foodie, bartender and now executive chef.
While the restaurant may appear the same, the interior hasn't changed much, but the menu is totally new, and it is good.
You may have met Pierpont at BR Prime or Ruth's Chris Steak House; he has been in the business for 15 years. If you have met him, you know he is serious about his food.
Pierpont has taken those years of experience, his passion for good food, talent in the kitchen and translated it all into a restaurant you will want to visit.
The Firefly is petite, just six bar seats and 15 small tables, but the wood-paneled walls and dark floors give this spot a cozy feel, cozy but with a touch of class, and the large glass windows make it a great place to sit and watch passersby in Ocean Springs.
Any restaurant worth its salt these days offers a variety of appetizers that can make for a tapas-style meal with friends and a cold beer or two, and Firefly will not disappoint you. The Fried Green Tomatoes, loaded with lump crab and with a perfect béarnaise sauce, was right on ($12).
Béarnaise is not the easiest sauce to make. It is the child of the French mother sauce, hollandaise, and we don't see it around as often as we should.
The Boom Boom Shrimp also made a good impression ($9): Large shrimp are tossed in a spicy red sauce and quick fried just right. Get a cold beer with this dish, as these shrimp have a healthy kick -- not too spicy, but just right.
Another innovative and delicious addition to the small plate list is Bacon Wrapped Duck Bites ($12). This spicy selection is a grilled jalapeño stuffed with breast of duck, cream cheese and grilled pineapple wrapped in bacon. This dish also can be had as an entrée.
The lunch menu offers seven possibilities. The standouts for me are the Black Angus Bacon Cheese Burger ($12), or the Front Beach Burger ($12) that features hash browns, a fried egg, bacon, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. Wow! The French fries are also worthy of special note. Few places get them this right.
The dinner menu has 10 selections, and if you are in the mood for a creamy pasta dish, the Crawfish Monica will suit you just fine ($16). Crawfish never had it so good when tossed in this house-made Creole Alfredo sauce, garnished with Asiago cheese. This Italian cow's milk cheese is another ingredient found far too seldom on local menus. You also might want to look at the Pork Tenderloin Picatta, ($15) and the lump Crab Cakes in brown butter ($25).
The Firefly Tavern is a much-welcomed addition to the Coast's restaurant scene. Sweet!