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Flywood Firetrap?

[whitespace] Firewood
David Fortin

No Table Service: At Firewood, orders are placed at a counter when you enter the restaurant.

Paul Adams sorts out the confusion about the restaurants Firewood, Firefly and Fly Trap

By Paul Adams

Decor

Firewood
Stained wood tables, big red lanterns in window, sort of like a nice library or private-school cafeteria.

Firefly
Homey, lots of firefly art, on the dim side. There are a number of nonmatching sets of plates used in the course of a meal.

Fly Trap
Minimal, old-school, businesslike. Room divided by a sternum-height wall.


Restroom

Firewood
Serviceable. Clean.

Firefly
Clean, hippyish.

Fly Trap
Industrial. Like an office restroom.


Style

Firewood
Ultracasual, but adult.

Firefly
Home-style, in a folk-arty way.

Fly Trap
Serious, old-fashioned, civil.


Crowd

Firewood
Neighborhood. Highly gay, young, fairly sedate. Lots of repeat customers, many of whom probably get the same thing.

Firefly
Young, professional. Groups of friends. Lots of repeat customers, familiar with the weekly-changing menu and eager to try new specialties.

Fly Trap
Lunching ladies, SoMa business folk, people for whom traditional is trendy. Lots of repeat customers, no doubt with favorites from the rather stable menu.


Dress

Firewood
T-shirts.

Firefly
Gap Plus.

Fly Trap
Nice, office environs.


Wait Staff

Firewood
No table service: you place your order (and pay) at the counter. You are given a heavy metal star with a number on it, which you place on your table. The food is then brought to you.

Firefly
Extremely attentive. In addition to the table visits to take orders, they make a "hello" visit and a "goodbye" visit.

Fly Trap
Old-school. Napkin draped on forearm, heavy accent, reserved.


An Appetizer

Firewood
Plate of four: marinated mushrooms, marinated asparagus, roasted garlic with crostini, and apple-jicama salad. The salad is quite delicious; the garlic is decent, with nicely crunchy crostini; the vegetables tasted like they were marinated in some sort of cleaning product.

Firefly
White-corn and green-chile chowder. With hunks of potato, creamy, sweet, intensely satisfying and luxurious.

Fly Trap
Bruschetta with wild mushrooms. Not exactly bruschetta. Toast in a powerfully flavored reduction of some sort, topped with many savory mushrooms.

Firefly Mix and Match: There are a number of nonmatching sets of plates used in the course of a meal at Firefly.

David Fortin



An Entree

Firewood
Pasta primavera. Al dente noodles in ordinary marinara with peas, broccoli, other vegetables. Filling but not special.

Firefly
Niman-Schell beef tournedos. Delicious, top-quality filet rounds in a darkly scrumptious morel-Madeira sauce. Served with asparagus and unexciting, greasy shredded-potato galettes.

Fly Trap
Mushroom tortellini, smothered in an impossibly rich cream sauce the consistency of a hot savory milkshake. A full day's eating in one medium-sized plate.


Another Entree

Firewood
Pizza margherita. A sufficient amount of satisfactory thin-crusted pizza.

Firefly
Tofu with shiitakes and coconut milk. One of two vegetarian options. The whole thing is way too heavily black-peppered, perhaps accidentally, and the tofu-is-bland problem is insufficiently dealt with.

Fly Trap
Breast of chicken, on the bone, in that same killingly creamy sauce.


What Its Fans Love

Firewood
Huge Caesar salad with caramelized onions and broccoli. It's cheap, and you don't have to wait for a check. The house beer. The house iced tea.

Firefly
Consistently delicious food, and the coziness. You can go out to eat without really feeling like you've left home.

Fly Trap
Eat like your huge healthy forebears ate. You never leave hungry. But it's refined, in a way.


What Its Detractors Hate

Firewood
No table service, unexceptional fare ("dorm food"), usually a wait.

Firefly
Cheesy hippie atmosphere, homogeneity of clientele, portions not as whopping as "home-style" might indicate.

Fly Trap
Weighty sauces, preponderance of business types, dishes with proper names whose content is nonintuitive.


Totem

Firewood
Numbered iron stars customers carry to tables to identify themselves to servers.

Firefly
Glowing firefly sculpture over the door. Particularly welcoming on a chilly night.

Fly Trap
"The Fly Trap Restaurant" stamp on each paper tablecloth, presumably marking the spot where the eponymous flypaper sat at the turn of the century.


What You Could Buy
Instead of a Meal Here

Firewood
The new Tricky album.

Firefly
A pair of Banana Republic pants.

Fly Trap
A month of ISDN service.


Actually Overheard

Firewood
"I can't believe I wasn't bear enough for him!"

Firefly
"The worst thing about spending a year in France is that the cheese here just isn't as good."

Fly Trap
"They need to start thinking outside the set-top box."


Basic Information

Firewood
Inexpensive ($7 entree); 4248 18th St.; 415/252-0999.

Firefly
Upper end of moderate ($15 entree); 4288 24th St.; 415/821-7652.

Fly Trap
Low-mid expensive ($20 entree); 606 Folsom; 415/243-0580.

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From the June 29-July 12, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.


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