I am a self proclaimed “creature of habit,” as well as a creature of habitat, let’s say. I am super loyal to my neighborhood, and when it comes to the many neighborhoods in Chicago, mine is one of the best, in my opinion. That being said, whenever I venture farther within the city limits our out to one of the surrounding suburbs, I am always pleasantly surprised at the offerings when it comes to dining, nightlife, and shopping.
Chicago might be one of the the best cities in the world, but its suburbs certainly add to what makes the city so great. When our friends at Ro-Bro invited us to brunch at Firefly Kitchen in Wilmette, I was looking forward to heading north and checking out a new ‘hood outside of city limits and checking out the spot with our intern Ana.
We were greeted by Joe from Ro-Bro, and his lovely wife Alexa. They are awesome, and it was really great to chat with them. Funny enough, Alexa and I used to both work for the same company. We had lots in common, including the fact that we had all recently gotten married. What was really cool was that Firefly team actually catered Joe and Alexa’s wedding before Firefly was a brick-and-mortar restaurant. As our drinks came out, we chatted about the restaurant’s chic interior. We especially loved the navy blue color scheme, black and white photographs of Brooklyn along the walls, and the copper lights hanging over each table. The walls were also sprinkled with charming quotes.
Intern Ana started her brunch with the white peach Bellini. She said she isn’t not much of a mimosa or Bloody Mary girl so the Bellini was a great alternative. Plus, the menu had many Italian-inspired dishes, and what goes better with an Italian brunch than a Bellini? Ana said it was the perfect balance of sweet and dry. Both and Alexa and I enjoyed our mimosas (or three!) while Joe, who went with the Diamond Jim’s Bloody Mary, was also pleased with his pick. Sunday brunch and cocktails are a must.
We all took some time to look over the menu, and basically drool over the offerings listed; everything is described perfectly, and after the long drive up north, we were all starving. Yet with so many options, such as four types of eggs Benny, we had to be thoughtful with our decisions! I was delighted when our server brought over the breakfast mac and cheese to our table without being asked. It is one of their breakfast favorites, and chef wanted us to try it. Absolutely perfect since I had been considering it for my main dish—score! Our party dug in and enjoyed every bite. The dish consisted of orecchiette pasta topped with bacon, sausage, fresh tomatoes, and a fried egg. The yolk created a gooey sauce that tied everything together. Literally, I still dream about this pasta almost two weeks later. Go there, try it, end of story.
Ana found herself in the typical brunch dilemma of deciding which route to go—savory or sweet? She decided to go with sweet, after the savory and meaty mac and cheese, she ordered the pancake ten stack, and got the best of both worlds. These pancakes were far from anything you’d have at IHOP. The dish’s presentation was beautiful. Ten silver dollar pancakes were stacked carefully one on top another. A stick of hardened sugar dug through the pancakes to hold them together. The stack was surrounded by a pool of passion fruit puree. While the puree was a bit sour for her taste, the dish was delightful overall. The lemony pancakes were fluffy and delicious. The portion is on the small side, so I recommend sharing another dish with friends if you want to order the pancakes for yourself.
With four eggs Benedict choices, I knew I was most likely going to go with one of them. As a Maryland native, I was surprisingly pleased with my crab cakes Benny. In Chicago, it is not hard to come across a menu with crab cakes on it. What is rare, though, is finding ones that are good. Sorry to be a crustacean snob, but unless you are going with jumbo lump crab meet and keeping the filling simple, you are not making a good crab cake, my friend. This crab cake was divine, and I was impressed. Upon meeting chef Dean, executive chef and co-owner of Firefly, after our meal, I told him just that. As a New York native himself he understood and appreciated the sentiment. Seriously, I’m no New York Times food critic, but if I say your crab cake is good, then it is really good. Thank your Firefly for making a darn good crab cake eggs Benny.
Joe, who went with the breakfast sandwich, enjoyed his choice. The sandwich consisted of egg, avocado, gruyere, tomato, and arugula on brioche, served with a side of lyonnaise potatoes. Joe said that the egg was done well in that it wasn’t too runny. The egg tied together the other toppings. After the mac and cheese, Joe could only finish half of his sandwich and took the rest home. Leftovers are the best and like my own husband at home, I am sure Joe enjoyed that sandwich a day later, straight from the fridge, in one giant bite.
Alexa’s lobster scramble tasted as good as it looked, she said. She said that the chunks of lobster were quite tasty, and that the savory dish almost didn’t need the potatoes with it because the scramble was so good on its own. Again, presentation wise, it looked beautiful. I personally loved how there were seafood options on the brunch menu. East coasters love their seafood and its no surprise chef wanted to reflect this in his menu offerings. After all, Firefly’s motto is “Bringing the taste of Brooklyn to the North Shore of Chicago.”
Chef Dean and his wife have Mia have worked hard to create a comfortable and relaxed, yet elegant atmosphere that reflects their menu perfectly. Cozy and romantic, yet bright and welcoming, Firefly is a gem just north of the city that everyone should check out. Oh, and they have a cute little patio—hello summer cocktails out back! Also, if you need catering for your next event, you should consider having the team at Firefly help make your party extra special. With a fan following before the opened the restaurant itself, it is easy to see why their food is loved.
111 Green Bay Rd.
Wilmette, IL 60091
Firefly Kitchen serves brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.