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Dragonfly, Orlando, Florida


Ranking: N/ARead Full Review


  • Food8-9
  • Pricing6(Mid-High Range)
  • Atmosphere9
  • Service9-10(Knowledgeable)
  • Selection9-10
  • Value8-9

The Review

On our last trip to Florida we dined at Dragonfly in Orlando. This is their second location, having a restaurant in Gainesville for many years. Dragonfly is a modern establishment who knows how to be tactful and trendy without being over the top. The restaurant has a great upscale feel and is very spacious. They feature one of the largest sushi bars we have ever seen and have separate dining areas, both indoors and out. Decor wise they feature dark wooden colors and rich earth tones. They have large beaded chandeliers over the bar and functional art. There are a few televisions within the restaurant, though some display pictures of food and specials, and soft club music is playing. We are seated by the manager Allan and our knowledgeable waiter Joaquin takes over.

  • Cucumber Compulsion Joaquin recommends a cocktail as we await our first dish. I try the Cucumber Compulsion. It is vodka infused with cucumbers on premise. It is then mixed with lime and St. Germain Elderflower. St. Germain Elderflower, produced in France, is infused with freshly picked elderflowers. The flowers are only in bloom for a short season and must be picked quickly before they lose their flavor and fragrance. It has a soft, delicate taste with a touch of sweetness. This pairs nicely with the cucumber and makes for a very refreshing, light cocktail.

  • Butter-Sauteed Edamame We are enjoying our beverages when our first dish, Butter Sauteed Edamame, arrive. The Edamames are sauteed in butter and then topped with togarashi, salt and bonito flakes. Togarashi is a mix of seven different Japanese spices, all hailing from some form of pepper. The bonito flakes are dry, fermented pieces of tuna that have been shaved into flakes. The dish has an amazing, rich flavor. With each bite there is a hint of garlic and definitely the spicy, yet intoxicating peppers. The flakes, which seem to curl and dance among the edamames as they contact the butter, add a great smokiness as well. Very creative and another great Orlando edamamde appetizer.

  • Clam Miso Soup Afterwards we cleanse out palates with Clam Miso Soup. The soup is miso based, made from scratch, with shiitakes, nameko, seaweed and scallions. Nameko are round, orange hued, mushrooms from Japan. In Japan it is the most cultivated mushroom and has a nice, slightly nutty taste. The soup has a healthy amount of small clams in it, which are a nice addition. They are light and very fresh. Overall the miso is delicious, filling and leaves us with that "warm" feeling.

  • Crispy U-10 Shrimp Crispy U-10 Shrimp arrive next. U-10 is a specific type of jumbo cocktail shrimp and that is exactly what this dish is. The jumbo shrimp are tempura fried and served with a garlic yuzu mousseline and plated with candied walnuts, sliced jalapenos, scallions and sesame seeds. Mousseline is any sauce which has the addition of whipped cream or beaten eggs mixed in, right before it is served. This leads to an airy consistency and a light taste. In this case the sauce was mixed with garlic and tart citrus, yuzu, which blended well with the cream. We were a little weary of the tempura at first, but we are pleasantly surprised at how light the dish was. There is some heat afterwards from the jalapenos but the sweet walnuts do well to help balance. If you like tempura shrimp, this is a must try.

  • Yellowtail Carpaccio Next is Yellowtail Carpaccio. It is baby yellowtail topped with a dollop of diced green olives, onions and relish made from jalapenos. Relish is a course condiment that is made from cooked or pickled fruits or vegetables, typically mixed with vinegar. The entire dish is then covered with an Italian soy dressing and lemon zest. Some mixed greens sit in the middle of the five pieces of fanned fish. There are many different ingredients to this dish and each one comes through individually. The salty olives and lemon zest stand out. The fish is very fresh and tender. Yellowtail has an oily texture and baby yellowtail is even richer. It is one of the more memorable Carpaccio dishes we have had.

  • Miso Yaki Black Cod A dish from their Seafood & Meats section, Miso Yaki Black Cod is brought to us. The fish is pan seared in a miso yaki sauce and garnished with mushrooms, chrysanthemum leaves and sesame seeds. Miso Yaki sauce is a combination of different types of miso, sugar, sake and mirin. Miso yaki can be overly sweet, but this sauce has just the right amount of sweetness to it. Black cod is a smooth fish, with a firm but texture, but slightly creamy in the middle. Some may even compare to Chilean Sea Bass, but it is lower in fat and not quite as sweet. The fish is perfectly cooked; tender, easily flakes and melts in out mouth. The mushrooms are very large and have a nice texture and clean taste. Though we are trying to save room for more, we finish this with no same. Delicious.

  • Grilled Short Ribs (from Robata Grill) Next we try two dishes from the Robata Grill. But first, a mini Robata Grill lesson. It comes from the ancient Japanese cooking method of robatayaki, skewered of food grilled on charcoals. Robata Grills use special bincho-tan coals that are heated to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Bincho-tan coals are white charcoal coals made from pieces of white oak and burn longer than regular charcoals. They are believed to have many health benefits and are even used in purifying water. Using colas heated to extreme temperatures it allows food to cook quickly, preserving their essences and nutrients. First is the Grilled Short Ribs accompanied by kimchee. The ribs are thick and tender. They're crispy on the outside, without being tough. The sauce on them has a nice spice, with a hint of smoke and sea salt. The kimchee, fermented vegetables, packs some heat and a nice crunch. If you like ribs, you'll enjoy these.

  • Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Afterwards was bacon wrapped asparagus. It was three long asparagus spears wrapped in thick cut bacon. The dish came with three dipping sauces: orange yuzu, spicy miso and tare. We will be the first to admit to being health nuts, so the idea of wrapping vegetables in bacon just ruins a perfectly good vegetable to us. Yet when this dish hit our table, the smell of the bacon got our attention. Of course we were going to try at. At first bite, I was remembered how good bacon actually tasted. It was thick, smoky, rich and oily. As for the sauces, the orange yuzu had a nice tart taste that worked the best with the bacon. The spicy miso was similar to a thinner and lighter spicy mayo and had a good spice. The tare is a sweetened, thickened soy sauce. It was not as sweet as we assumed it would be, but rather a good mix of salty-sweet. Overall if you love bacon, you'll enjoy this.

  • Scallop Shooters We are brought a specialty dish of Scallop Shooters. It is a lemon half that has been hollowed and filled with live scallops, the raw yolk of a quail egg, shiso (Japanese mint), wasabi puree and roe. Quail eggs, a delicacy in Japan, are smaller than the egg of a chicken but similar in taste. It is slightly fattier and therefore a little richer. This is one of the most unique dishes we have tried. We are told to squeeze the lemons slightly as we knock the whole thing down. Bottoms up it is. The dish has an odd consistency. I've never had a raw egg before and I find it very runny and unenjoyable. The entire dish has an overpowering lemon flavor and the scallop gets lost in everything.

  • Dragonfly Roll We next move to sushi. The first roll to arrive is their signature roll, The Dragonfly. The roll is tuna, albacore, rice and nori, wrapped by pieces of grouper. The individual pieces are then topped with spicy sauce and baked in the oven. They get a drizzle of eel sauce and scallions once they are done cooking. At first bite, they are warm and gooey. The spice of the sauce and the tuna is dead on and lingers in the mouth, even though the eel sauce adds a little sweetness. The grouper is very tasty and super fresh. We are reminded of the Tatter Todds we loved in San Diego, but these had more fish in them. The roll is the perfect cooked roll, with a great combo of spicy sweet. I'll put it up against a volcano roll any day.

  • Surf and Turf Roll Next is another cooked roll, Surf and Turf. We expected shrimp tempura topped with steak, but instead we got a roll with grilled shrimp, bacon, cucumber, crab, cream cheese and asparagus inside. The roll is then topped with beef tataki, avocado and a sweet apple-soy cream sauce. It is then garnished with scallions and sesame seeds. This specialty roll is jammed packed and we liked their twist on the original surf and turf. As for taste, there is a great crunch from the vegetables and cooked bacon. The beef tataki, tataki is a Japanese method in which food is quickly seared on the outside by still rare in the middle, is tender and juicy. The cream sauce, which we thought may have been tart and salty, is light and sweet. Overall, another good pick.

  • Cobra Kai We try the Cobra Kai after that. The roll has onion, tomato, crab meat, tempura flakes and pieces of lemon inside. It is then topped with pieces of salmon and a garlic-shiso (mint) pesto and a little aged balsamic vinegar. While most people think balsamic vinegar may spoil with age the process of aging the vinegar, very similar to wine, can enhance the taste and give it an individualized flavor depending on the wood used. Some vinegar can spend upwards of twenty years aging. The roll is an interesting combination of vegetables. It is very crunchy and light on the palate. The pesto, which we have never had on sushi before, is a subtle undertone. The salmon is very fresh and tastes well with the veggies and lemon.

  • Chutoro Sashimi Chutoro Sashimi arrives next. There are two types of cuts of toro; chutoro and otoro. While both are from the fatty belly of the tuna, otoro is from the underside close to the head of the fish while chutoro comes more from the back of the fish. Both are exquisite cuts, but otoro is fattier and therefore richer in taste. The chutoro that we have is soft and oily, with a lavish taste. It is a little tough, though very enjoyable.

  • Black N' Bleu Roll We jump back into sushi with the Black N' Bleu roll. The roll is rib eye steak, spinach, sauteed onions, bleu cheese and jalapenos. The roll is traditional in that the rice is on the inside and the layer or nori on the outside. On top there is a honey-wasabi glaze. Again, this is a great steak roll. It is very unique and one of the best we have had. In general rib eye is a more favorable cut of meat and the steak inside is perfectly cooked medium and rich in flavor. The combination of jalapenos and bleu cheese are awesome, with the jalapenos packing heat and the cheese instantly smoothing it. We enjoyed this roll very much and Michael would probably make a trip to Florida just for some more.

  • Godzilla Roll Next was the Godzilla roll. It has eel, snow crab, cucumber, cream cheese, scallions and roe inside. It is topped with avocado, strawberries and eel sauce. We elect to have the roll without the cream cheese. This roll is not our favorite. The taste of eel is not strong and the roll is a touch too sweet. The strawberries are a nice touch though.

  • Mango Tango Continuing with the fruit trend, we try the Mango Tango. This roll is smoked salmon, cream cheese, mango, avocado and tempura flakes inside. It is then topped with crispy sweet potato straws and a peach-apricot reduction. While somewhat similar apricots are smaller, softer and sweeter than peaches. The two are boiled down to form the sweet reduction. The tropical flavors of this roll all work incredibly well together. The sweet mango and peaches stand out and are complimented by the smoky fresh fish. The sweet potato provides the right amount of crunch and the cream cheese, while a little much for our liking, does bring everything together nicely. Since mango is one of our favorite fruits, this gets a thumbs up.

  • Lava Roll Though ready to roll home at this point, we try one more sushi roll, The Lava Roll. The roll has smoked eel, smoked salmon, crab and roe inside. It is topped with slices of avocado, eel sauce and oven baked scallops mixed lightly with mayo. The scallops on top are super fresh with a light, clean taste. The rolls had a smoky undertone and a strong crab flavor. Overall, as scallops and crabs are more on the sweet side, they work well with the smoked fishes.

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