MAY 13th, 6-9pm
BURGERS, BEER & BLUES
1009 El Centro Street SOUTH PASADENA
King’s bold, confident cooking makes her the Lauryn Hill of New American cuisine. Plus, she really, really knows how to fry stuff. –Jonathan Gold, L.A. Weekly
If every neighborhood restaurant were as amiable and engaging as this one, we’d all be thrilled to stroll up the block for dinner. –S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
L.A. Weekly Review
By Jonathan Gold
The Middle Passage
Before she headed to Los Angeles for a stint at Border Grill, Monique King was the chef of Soul Kitchen in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, which focused on the cooking of the New World’s African diaspora, from spicy Jamaican dishes to Afro-Brazilian stews to creole shrimp and grits: 400 years of African-American history on a plate. It was an incredibly important restaurant–I once wrote that King’s bold, confident cooking made her the Lauryn Hill of New American cuisine. Plus, she really, really knows how to fry stuff.
King’s Firefly Bistro–which she runs with husband and co-chef Paul Rosenbluh–is perhaps less ambitious in its scope, and the vibe in the souped-up tent that serves as the dining room is more suburban relaxed than urban chic. It’s a comfortable restaurant, the kind of neighborhood place you drop into a couple of times a month because you like the idea of cornmeal-fried anchovies in your caesar salad, or of a paella that tastes more like an uptown version of jambalaya, or of a strawberry shortcake that just happens to be frosted with a superior lemon curd. Firefly Bistro seems more interested in serving you dinner than in confronting you with pan-fried American history. Asian touches pop up now and again, and a few Mexican things, and quite a few folky flavors from Spain. (The tapas served to coincide with the Thursday-evening farmers market right outside the bistro’s doors have become a South Pasadena tradition.) But there are still the barbecued quail, the fried crawfish tails, and the pecan-crusted catfish fillets stacked up like poker chips. King has apparently not abandoned her old moves. 1009 El Centro St., South Pasadena; (626) 441-2443.