When my order of Chicken & Dumplings eventually arrived, I immediately noticed something was missing. I mean other than a spoon with which to eat it. It seemed to be devoid of dumplings. So not chicken & dumplings. Chicken &.
This was at Firefly Kitchen and Bar, the business that has taken over the former Taps space in Winter Park Village.
I confirmed the dumpling deficit after I was given a spoon — a teaspoon instead of soup spoon — and fished through the thick and tepid broth. Although ordered as a first course, the soup was served simultaneously with the burger that I had ordered as an entree. So I pushed the bowl aside and concentrated on the burger.
I had already cut into it and tasted it when someone came by the table. It wasn’t the young woman who was my server but rather a gentleman I assumed was either the manager or an owner. He asked, “How’s the burger?”
Rather than answer that question — dry, overcooked, ridiculous — I asked one of my own: Where were the dumplings in the chicken &?
Instead of immediately offering an apology, he offered a defense: “I didn’t serve this.”
A replacement was offered but I said I didn’t want it. I might have if the dish been served as a starter instead of side dish with the burger. (And how much nicer it would have been to have a first course earlier rather than waiting nearly a half hour for it all.)
Oh, that burger. I should elaborate. You’ll understand the dryness and the overcookedness, but the ridiculousness needs further explanation.
I chose the Fried Green Tomato version, which indeed had said topping, thick and hard as it was. It also had slices of fresh avocado, cheddar cheese and a fried egg all nestled above and below a thick patty in a kaiser-like roll.
But it was absurdly tall and unwieldy, impossible to pick up and eat. And when I cut into it with a knife, the yolk from the egg squirted onto the table because the wood cutting board it was on was too small to serve as a proper plate.
Look, I’m all for creativity, though I don’t quite get the rationale of these particular ingredients together any more so than the peanut butter on the Piggly Wiggly burger. And I understand and appreciate the role of a restaurant to delight and impress. But there’s a point where something like these burgers — I noticed others served at a nearby table — stops being fun and just becomes an annoying mess. At a very reasonable $14, which included a fry-basket full of OK fries, it could be reduced to something more manageable and still be fairly priced.
The space is pleasant enough. The decor features numerous light fixtures of hanging Mason jars with Edison bulbs that evoke captured lightning bugs. The front dining area has doors that open to blur the line between inside and out. It’s the sort of venue I have to believe the developers of Winter Park Village had in mind, a gathering place that would give the open-air shopping mall a sense of community.
It should be noted that after I sent the soup back, someone from the kitchen came out to offer a more contrite apology, one that was refreshingly sincere. (The charge was removed from the final bill.)
As with its predecessor, Firefly makes great use of its many beer taps. Craft brew fans will find more to like here. Perhaps better food will follow.
Firefly Kitchen and Bar is at 480 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner daily, until midnight on weekends. The phone number is 407-677-5000.