Earlier this month, Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market opened its third location in Florida in the newly established complex of Downtown Doral. The restaurant has outposts in Gainesville and Orlando, with each emphasizing a different component (Gainesville focuses on sushi, while the Orlando location concentrates on the robatayaki) with this location shining a unique spotlight on its artisan fish market, which is a nod to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan.
The stunning 6,000 square foot space is heavily inspired by owner Hirofumi P. Leung, dedication to preserving the memories of visiting the fish market and street vendors back home with his father before preparing family meals. We got a chance to taste our way through the menu – which some of us were already quite familiar with during our time in Gainesville – and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The meal began with a variety of starters including Cauliflower Goma Miso made with roasted tri-cauliflower, golden raisins, pine nuts; Maitake Mushroom Fritters topped with truffle salt and tentsuyu; and a variety of beautifully presented Oysters with various sauces. Robata still makes its way to the menu and we tried the Wagyu Short Rib, Beef Tounge, Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms and Chicken Thighs.
Not surprisingly, plenty of fish make its way onto the menu like the Hokkaido Scallops made with daikon, carrots, jalapeno garlic dressing and wasabi greens along with a tasting platter of Omakase Nigiri. And of course you can’t have a proper tasting without some sushi rolls and we tried a variety including the Ryū made with salmon, snow crab delight, red onion, cucumber, tempura flakes— topped with avocado, torched tuna, togarashi, eel sauce, kobachi sauce and the Sea Kai made with snow crab delight, tomato, lemon, red onion, tempura flakes— topped with salmon, garlic shiso chimichurri, balsamic.
Drinks and dessert are certainly not an after thought featuring a progressive beverage program with a dedicated Japanese ice program, a rare and award-winning Japanese whiskey list, a seasonal Omakase cocktail list and a unique sake and shōchū list. Drinks are available for all different tastes with the Emperor’s Concubine, Mugi Down South and the Sakurakai being favorites. Plenty of overflowing sake is also on hand, if that’s more your style. And don’t miss dessert, with a Four Leches Green Tea Cake standing out from the pack.
While it isn’t open quite yet, when the restaurant’s adjoining fish market does open it will feature everything from house-made rubs to seafood sourced from local and exotic waters across the globe. The market will also feature a variety of house-made and unique or hard-to-find boutique items such as, Japanese White Shoyu and Kentucky Bluegrass Soy Sauces, and artisanal Kika Treats. In addition, it will offer kits to recreate Dragonfly-inspired meals at home, bento boxes to-go, salads, rice bowls and educational seafood workshops.