GRAY -- The juxtoposition of Fireflys rough exterior compared to its professional interior makes this fine dining find all the sweeter. I think of all the traffic that passes by this place in Gray, afraid to take a chance on this lovely restaurant, and I hope this review helps to lure them in.
Upon entering, you will see a tiki bar to your right, mostly filled with locals. Your hostess will take you to the refined dining area and hand you a professionally designed and printed menu, always a sign that attention to detail has been paid. Each table has on it a Mason jar containing one firefly and the wooden decor is cozy without sacrificing style.
We started with fried grits served in a lobster sauce for $6.95 and found them absolutely excellent. Asiago cheese holds the grits together as they are dipped in batter and fried to a golden brown. We also tried the chorizo cheese dip but it was outshone by the homemade chips that it came with for $5.95.
Each night, Chef Luis features a different pasta, and on our night it was Basciaola fettucini, a mixture of peas, mushrooms and peppered prosciutto that our writer friend enjoyed. The artist at our table ordered the steak medallions with wild sauteed mushrooms in a red wine reduction for $12.50, but was surprised that the medallions were not tenderloin. Guessing that it may have been flank, he still happily cleaned his plate.
We also tried the shrimp po boy, the barbecue pulled pork, the catfish and the salmon. The po boy is served with remoulade sauce and delicious homemade fries for $10.50, while the pork barbecue for $7 was a bit vinegary for our reporter friend (hes from the North). The bourbon glazed salmon was a dream for $13.50 and the catfish was some of the best Ive ever had (it usually tastes like bottom-feeder dirt to me) for $12.95. Mine was fried, but the fish is so flavorful I would be willing to try it in the unfried options that are available.
Other options that we will try next time are the buttermilk ranch fried chicken, the Angus ribeye steak, and the Georgia beef dip. The fried chicken comes with a warm, white pepper gravy and mashed potatoes, while the ribeye steak comes with onion straws and homemade steak sauce for $16.50. The Georgia beef dip is the same ribeye steak thinly sliced, heaped on a hoagie roll dipped in au jus and grilled for $8. Another variation is the Yankee (bless their little hearts) steak and cheese, which comes slathered with grilled onions and peppers and topped with provolone for $7.50.
With all these homemade items, we were hoping to have a selection of freshly made desserts to choose from. Though the bread pudding was the only homemade dessert, the cheesecake was fantastic and topped off our meal like a dream. My mouth is watering, thinking of it now.
The prices are great, the food is well worth the drive, and if youre in Gray, you have a treasure among you. Fireflys should become a huge success in very short order.
Address: 4171 Gray Highway, Gray
Hours: 11 a.m.- 9p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 98
Price range: $6.95 and up
Rating: 3.5 stars