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Update: Firefly became a 2nd Tex Tubb's Taco Palace.

In a word: Bright, but not always glowing.

The specs: #0177
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; Badger Herald review; WSJ review; Kyle's review; Madison Date Night review; Yelp reviews; official web site.

JM ate the cashew chicken platter.
Kyle ate the sea scallops and the jade and onyx cake with a thai iced coffee.
Nichole ate the shiitake spinach ravioli and the chocolate truffle cake with a thai iced tea.
The bill was $55, or $18.33/person, plus tip.
JM and Kyle gave Firefly a B+; Nichole gave Firefly an A- (see our grading rubric).

Latest Firefly news and reviews

We had a fine time at Firefly, where we ate with Kyle of Reading This Will Not Make You Popular. Nichole and Kyle talked shop (mostly about the reading habits of inmates) and popped edamame appetizers while JM ended up brown-rice-wrangling for much of the meal.

Kyle tried the sea scallops. The nice presentation obscured what was kind of a small serving, but the scallops were tender & good. The wasabi mashed potatoes were a little bland next to the black bean garlic sauce.

Firefly scallops

The photogenic ravioli came in a delicious, light broth, balanced by seared tofu and just-cooked-enough asparagus, tomatoes, and other veggies. Again, the entree wasn't particularly filling. (Upon reflection, there was more tofu than ravioli, which is sad. Those little guys were good.) While the flavors were interesting, the fusion somehow didn't fuse as well as one would hope from a Food Fight place.

Firefly ravioli

JM's choice of a dinner platter proved the most substantial, meaning it took the most bites. He described the cashew chicken as "too exotic but quite good," and the brown rice as "v.v.v. chewy" to the point of actually fighting back against his teeth.  The rice was probably to blame for JM not having room for the delectable dessert offerings.  It seemed to him there were several cases of Firefly trying too hard to be interesting instead of offering just good food.

The slice of dense, smooth chocolate truffle cake (that Nichole ate most of) was sublime, and the jade and onyx cake turned out to be a good choice for Kyle's Food Fight birthday card. After all was said and done, Kyle thought it would just as worthwhile to come here solely for drinks and dessert.

By the way, you gotta get on the Food Fight list if you're not already. The perks are sweet. (Get it? Sweet--cake? Ok, ok.)


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Yay! Firefly is a fun place to go, it's just not the best for "great" food. I'm glad that we could find reviews for the place from the first era of the restaurant and the second. It looks like they're going in the right direction. They just need to focus a little less on wowing your eyes and more on satisfying your stomach. All that without making you feel like you spent too much for the meal you got. It's not super expensive, it's just not very cost-effective.

After you readers are done here, I'll have some more of my thoughts up at RTWNMYP. You know, if you're interested.

Yah! I'll add it to the links. Plus I realized there's no mention of the purty little monkeys that were on our drinks. Ours are swinging on the light fixture over our table.

So sad that this place had to close. I realize that business may have slowed a bit but does Madison really need another mediocre faux tex-mex place? Aren't there enough Taco bells and Taco Johns to fullful that need already?

That's quite the flamebait. Say what you will about the success of Tex Tubb's menu; it is totally separate from the Taco Bell/Johns of the world. And apparently, the answer is "yes," since the first Tex Tubbs was successful enough to merit expansion. I haven't made it there yet, so I don't speak from experience. But look at the menu; they're not all the same thing.

Tex Tubbs is terrible quality food.

While the menu at Tex Tubb's is clearly more elaborate Taco John's/Taco Bell and the quality a step up, I can't say the place is too overly thrilling. Or worth the cash. YMMV, of course.


I miss Firefly! The wasabi mashed potato's rocked! Now all I have are memories and a few little drink monkeys.

Texas Tubs has one really bad attribute - they are HEAVY handed on the cilantro. It makes the food taste like soap. Whenever my friends take me there I ask for no cilantro. If I'm going to do Mexican - I'd rather spend my time/money/effort going to Casa de Lara or La Hacienda.

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Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



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