John Curtas is …

FIREFLY Makes People Sick

In all the world, there is not something that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and those who consider price alone are this man’s lawful prey. – John Ruskin

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KLAS-TV (Channel 8) reported this morning that Firefly on Paradise Road was closed over the weekend after several complaints of food poisoning.

The way the story was worded, it sounded like the owner closed the restaurant “voluntarily” after a number of complaints of customers becoming ill after eating there.

This is unmitigated, p.r.-driven bullshit. No restaurant closes voluntarily. The Southern Nevada Health District may not have been standing there with a padlock (like it did in August, 2011) but management had to have seen the writing on the wall.

None of which surprised ELV. We have been warning people for years, and hated these joints from the first bite — specializing as they do in nasty food made with low-rent ingredients.

For those of you wondering, we have eaten at the Paradise Road location at least a half dozen times over the years, and even ventured to the downtown location and the one on west Sahara in hopes of finding improvement. Alas, it was not to be.

The only reason people go to these lame excuses for a tapas bar is because they’re cheap. They use crappy-ass, Asian-farmed seafood, bad (usually stale) bread, and whatever else falls off the Sysco truck. The first time we went to the original, we asked the bartender for a glass of sherry and he didn’t know what we were talking about. The last time we went there (on Sahara), they were using processed cheese food melted on a dish, the meat was full of gristle and the bread was at least two days old.

ELV looks forward to how this budding restaurant empire/ode to mediocrity spins this disaster. The way we see it, the lowest-common-denominator bent of this “bistro” finally caught up with it.

Regardless, we’re very sorry for the victims of the poisoning (being intimately acquainted with the affliction ourselves), but they had been warned.

Just as you have been warned.

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37 Responses to FIREFLY Makes People Sick

  • i’ve actually been here before.

    and i’m also not shocked.

  • My daughter ate there with friend on Monday night the 22nd April. She was very ill along with her friend. It took a few days to effect her. Her friend was much faster. 5 days of being down and out. They ate the tuna, bread butter, thai beef, calamari, mussels, and dates.

  • This was at the Paradise Firefly

  • ELV responds: since posting this and a couple of items on Facebook, we have received three other tales of recent food poisonings at Firefly.

    How do you say “public nuisance?”

  • We went there on 4/23 and out of 7 people 4 got really sick. Including my husband and kids. After 2 trips to the ER and the 5th day of diarrhea they are finally feeling a bit better. We are waiting on the results of the stool samples the health dept. took. Thank you Firefly for the side of bacterial food poisoning. Jerks!

  • I ate there on 4/23 and became ill the evening of 4/23. High fevers and then chills. Diarrhea and vomiting. First trip to the ER I had two bags of fluids, antibiotics, morphine and anti nausea. Another trip the next day for more fluids. Finally feeling like I am on a road to recovery but still afraid to leave my house.

  • Your rant on Firefly is one of the most awesome things I’ve read in ages. I love the tapas bar concept in theory but as you suggest it seldom plays out well in practical application. Is there any tapas-esque place in town that gets it right? I used to eat at a place called ’50 Plates’ in Portland (which has since closed) that was pretty good.

  • i’ve ate at this firefly and the one on Sahara multiple times. I’ve never had a problem, I think ELV is a big baby whos bought out by big chefs. ELV goes up and down the strip looking for chef dick!

  • “you can have some good stuff in a very cool atmosphere overlooking the low-rent, tourist travesty that is Fremont Street.

    And somehow, from this glass-enclosed rotunda, with all of those bright lights shining in, things didn’t look so bleak.

    Either on the plate or on the street.”

    Right from the horses mouth, ELV

    What happened between you and firefly, why the sudden hate? Did they not comp your meal, or even bother to recognize you?

  • ELV responds: @Don is so right. We are always on the lookout for a celebrity spotted dick and a face full of hollandaise.

  • …and we have been comp’d at Firefly (once) and as much as I tried to like it ….it was a testament to the dumbest common denominator.

  • I have eaten at Firefly on a regular basis (including Monday, April 22nd) for years now and NEVER got sick or received stale food or any of this other crap you are ranting about. There is always a wait to get in for dinner and many of the customers are regulars. Your comments are an insult to all of these people.

  • I ate there last Thursday after reviews on Yelp and had a decent lunch. I’ve had food poisoning for 3 days!! Back home in NY now and suffering. What happens in Vegas, does not stay in Vegas!

  • @Joanne: Not to stir shit, but your logic is flawed at best. ELV’s comments are not the insult. While I may not conpletely agree as I too have had GOOD experience with my food there and felt the atmosphere and energy is what makes the place what it is. The food is palatable, yet far from stellar. The insult to all those regulars and people that regularly wait to get in because “It’s the best” and “OMG, I love Firefly”…is their own palates!! Listen, Chili’s/Applebee’s/Mimi’s/Marie Callendar’s all get/got hoards of people standing outside waiting to get in…Hell, it even happens at Joe’s Crab Shack and their food is atrocious!! While I’ve never gotten food poise ing there, I have been nauseous from the meal within minutes of leaving. But, that’s a whole different comment string…

    Bottom line, Firefly is/has become a restaurant with chain standards, chain quality and chain production food…at best.

    My best to all the food poisoning victims…no pleasant experience!

  • Ate at Firefly for the first time in 2007, and the service was so bad I swore I would never go back. 6 years later I decided to give it another shot and went for my friend’s birthday. Ended up with food poisoning. This place sucks.

  • As per Ferran Adria, who started the trend of molecular gastronomy, Tapas as the quintessential Spanish nibbles as being more than just bites. Fire Fly was the first to catch on the trend and expand. It is not the authentic Tapas as envisioned in Spain.

  • Went here to celebrate my mom’s birthday and have never been so sick in my life. I lost 12 pounds in four days. I have never experienced diarrhea like this before. I am still waiting for the results of my stool culture.

    That night to eat we had mussels, shrimp, dates, ribs(i think this is what did it), artichoke toast, and duck eggrolls. The reason I think it was the ribs is because I ate most of them, my brother ate one and my mother had none. Mom did not get sick at all and my brother is sick but no where near as bad as me. I went to the bathroom in excess of 30 times on saturday 4/27. We ate here on monday night and tueday night is when i fell apart. If you went here and got sick please post what you ate to help us determine what the culprit is!

  • Far be it from me to try to interpret statements from a licensed member of the bar, but Joanne and VegasChris both may have missed the mark just a tad. ELV’s comments “should” be an insult, but not directed at the customers, many of whom simply do not know any better. Rather it is in that frustrating manner at which Firefly has been put together. Vegas Chris does get that part right – this showed the telltale signs of being a “chain in the making” from the start. Tapas, in its best (and sublime) form, is using the best of ingredients in simple fashion, marrying food and beverage in a conversational style. And sherry is a big part of that, an ideal play off of the saltiness of much of the cuisine. What does Firefly bring in terms of delivering that tradition? Precious little. The ingredient quality is frustratingly low, and if we were to propose that Firefly is to genuine Spanish tapas what Oliver Garden is to genuine Italian cuisine, are any of even the most Firefly fans going to argue that point?

    If you like Firefly, that is fine. Enjoy it. But allow John to do what he does, and bemoan the fact that once again someone with a corporate mentality is working on a formula to make a profit, rather than serve food from the heart (alas, the same things will be said about the Morton’s and La Comida quite soon). We can give the proprietors begrudging credit for that – Las Vegas was starved for such a product, so they were in the right place at the right time. But more is the pity for those of us that have been to Spain, and relished in that style of eating. Yes, we tried Firefly when they opened, hoping for the best. And we even went back a few times, desperately wanting to like the place, and have the concept delivered to Las Vegas. It just was not there. It was a coloring book representation of the concept, and unfortunately for far too many last week (the Associated Press reports 39 consumers making a complaint), they found that this group can not even color inside the lines.

  • Ate at the one on Sahara 2 days before New Year’s Eve (last year)…within hours, I was violently ill…really bad…(saving the gory details)…lasted for 4 days…never again…will I step foot in that place.

  • Thought I’d chime in as I am sitting here now with my husband in the hospital where he’s been for 3 days. He ate at this restaurant on Wednesday and started feeling ill Thursday night. He was admitted to the hospital Saturday and since been treated with antibiotics and morphine for severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. Not sure which food caused it but I noticed a few others possibly ate the bacon wrapped dates?

  • My whole family got sick after eating at the paradise location on Monday night. Violently ill. I’ve been hospitalized for two nights now. I don’t really understand how they can continue to be allowed to be in business.

    I don’t think it’s a specific dish but rather a bacterial infection from poor sanitation or the like.We were all put on antibiotics because it was determined to be a bacterial infection. Over 25 people were sick from eating there Sun-We’d, those numbers not including my family.

  • Ate there last Wednesday for lunch. Was in ER over the weekend. NO FUN

  • You can get food poisoning anywhere there is cost cutting, laziness and lack of attention to detail. I got food poisoning at the Verandah Cafe in The Four Seasons two weeks ago after eating pancakes and sausage. Yes, I was also in the E.R. and sick for 5 days with severe diarrhea and vomiting. Prior to that in 2005 I got food poisoning from the Cheesecake Factory in Boca Park after eating a BBQ Chicken pizza and also ended up in the hospital. It was so bad, I wanted to die. Food poisoning kills people and these places should be reprimanded. Good going ELV for bringing this topic to the surface here and those of you commenting negatively against Mr Curtis here who have never had food poisoning, would change your tune quickly should you ever have a real case of it.

  • Also. one of my friends reports getting food poisoning from an undercooked Crabcake sandwich at the Bachi Burger in Summerlin. He ate it Tuesday for lunch on 4/16 and was sick for six days afterwards.

  • It is not appropriate for you to state “crappy-ass Asian-farmed seafood”. You sounds like you are saying all the seafood from Asia is crappy. If not, please write carefully because it makes you look like you are a racist.

    Asia includes such a country as Japan – and they produce quality food. You should clearly state which country in Asia produces crappy seafood. Then, you must prove it. If you can not prove it, it is called stereotype. If you have such a stereotype towards Asian countries, you are merely a racist. Surely enough, any writer who is dictated by stereotype is not able to write a fair review. Thus, many may think you are not a good food reporter.

    Btw, taste bud is mostly formed before you turn 3 years old, meaning if you didn’t eat a wide variety of food before then, you can’t tell the difference. Did you grow up eating greasy fast food like pizzas and hamburgers? I am just curious.

    I am also curious if you are one of these who put a lot of soy sauce to a piece of Sushi and say, “wow, wonderful”. You are not tasting fish. You are tasting soy sauce and “atmosphere and the high price” . These people are ones who believe in the movie “Jiro dreams of Sushi”. In Japan, that film is just a joke. People laugh about it. Did you know?

  • Firefly is an insult to tapas, whoever put those places together has never been exposed to tapas, not even in movies. Last time I was there I only had beer and I refused to touch any of the disgusting food my friends ordered. Actually firefly represent everything I dislike in LV, besides the hot girls.

  • I ate there with friends on Sunday, April 21st. We have the potatoes bravas, mushroom tart, clams, duck roll, marquez sausage, pork empanada and sangria. I started getting sick on Wednesday, April 24th. I am still only eating bananas and toast. It has been 6 long days of sickness. I am so relieved that I didn’t get as sick as so many people.
    BTW, the food there is horrible, anyway. We went based on Trip Advisor reviews and if all those people think that is good food, well I have nothing to say to them.

  • I also was once “dragged” to Firefly by aficionados and couldn’t understand how such a fraud could be so popular. I put it down to a good publicist and Pr work. As for food poisoning I recall that a few months ago also the famous NOMA in Copenhagen, considered the best restaurant in the world, was shut down after several clients were intoxicated. (I wonder if they order their “Citronelle live ants” from Sysco?!)

  • I can tell that you guys are very sick and also very bitter… I cant believe there can be so many haters in this town, ofcourse not all these comment are legit, this is a very false statement. Everytime i go to vegas if i dont stop at firefly i feel that i didnt finish my trip, best tapas restaurant, awsome atmospher, great staff, good music… BEST Place to EAT in las Vegas… Stay strong firefly, dont let this haters and John Curtas ruined your business, i have seen many celebrities dining at firefly,(mayweather, david copperfild) and im sure these people dont go there because of the “cheap food”….. John Curtas this is the worst review i have seen in my life.

  • Ate Monday, April 21. Had bread/almond butter, stuffed dates, beet salad, chicken skewers, mushroom tart, fries. 7 days later, wife and still have diarrhea. Needed 3 liters of fluid from ER on day 3. Stool sample indicates Salmonella. Nasty bugger. Food tasted great, but what a price to pay. Vegas took our money and our health. Thanks Firefly!

  • Ate at the Sahara location and once downtown. Never was poisoned but never liked it either. It was tasteless, not fresh and either over or undercooked. Service wasn’t great either. If you like “small bites” go to a Happy Hour of which there are many good ones in town or get Dim Sum. Decent tapas has yet to be seen in Vegas either at Firefly or at the other couple of places that tried to do it in town.

    Sorry LasVegans you have yet to experience real tapas, take my word for it!

  • Roger, I’m glad you enjoy Firefly and have had no health problems stemming from their food, but there are 39 reported cases of food poisoning and I’m sure many more unreported ones (as you can see). Curtas’ opinion is one thing, but the documented issues here are another, and I highly doubt they’re saying these things because they’re “haters.” I’ve never eaten there, so I have no opinion on the quality of their food or vested interest in Firefly’s success or failure. I may eat there one day — just let me know when it’s safe.

  • Ate there on Monday with two people. Our vacation was ruined by Wednesday. Who do I contact in Vegas to let them know? Probably way more than 39 people got sick.

  • Michelle, contact Southern Nevada Health District at http://www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/foodborne/index.php

  • It is obvious that, SNHD, is understaffed compared to the sheer number of restaurants that exist and open on a daily basis, that is unique to any city in the world. They should do a monthly inspection of every restaurant not random. The busy restaurants get away with these gross infractions, since they have more clout or the assumption that they are too busy to be interrupted for inspection or they must be good since they are busy. Recent Channel 13 expose, on few Chinese restaurants on facebook, the sanitary conditions were so horrible, I had to skip looking at the pics and they were certified as Grade A by SNHD. Also, how does a eatery with over 40 demerits certified to Grade A overnight? The system needs a overhaul and sooner the better for the health of the public.

  • We, and several guests became violently ill after a wedding rehearsal dinner at the W. Sahara location. Neither the local manager or owner Mr. Simmons seemed surprised, or offered to do anything about it. How Mr. Simmons could say that he has been cooking for 30 years and “I’ve never had a situation like this” is ludicrous. Maybe they never acknowledged it, but sure as (you know what), it happened to us, and I tend to think, to many others also at his place. Shame on them, they are getting what they deserve. As my daughter said, “better customer service at McDonalds!”

  • Doesn’t heat kill Salmonella? Eggs and chicken routinely contain salmonella and we eat them all the time. I suspect if this is in fact from Salmonella it is from raw or improperly cooked ingredients not poor quality ingredients.. Just a thought…

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