I have long stalked the Dragonfly Neo-V Web site to read its seasonal menus and day dream about eating there. Almost immediately, the restaurant made its way onto my "places to eat" list, and unfortunately, it stayed there for many years. Last Friday, I was finally able to cross it off.
After a nine-hour trip from Atlanta to Columbus—a pit stop on our way to Youngstown, Ohio—Justin and I rolled into Columbus for our first meal at Dragonfly Neo-V. Upon walking in the door, we were immediately greeted by a friendly and attentive staff who made the previous hour we spent in traffic disappear from our memories immediately.
We selected our appetizer, hon shemeji mushrooms served calamari style, but before the plate arrived, we were surprised by an amuse-bouche from the chef—a bite of pasta that tasted of the sea and sesame.
The mushrooms arrived shortly after and were unlike any type I have tried before. They had a chewy texture that wasn't lost under the crunchy coating on the outside or the tomato stew that rested beneath the mushrooms. It's one of the most delicious appetizers I have ever tried.
As we do in many restaurants, Justin and I ordered two entrées to share. One was the poached French trumpet mushroom risotto, which had a rich and intense flavor.
The other was handmade gnocchi served with barnier olives, confit garlic, roasted pepper, and a lentil purée. I wasn't blown away by the first bite of the gnocchi alone, but I quickly realized that I was eating it all wrong. Each bite needed a piece of every element on the plate in order to fully enjoy the dish.
For dessert—because you can't skip dessert at a restaurant you've been waiting years to visit—we decided to share the apple empanadas, served with a side of apple sorbet and a lavender gimlet to wash it all down. The empanadas had one of the most perfect pastry crusts I have ever seen, and the tartness of the sorbet balanced out the cream sauce on the empanadas.
Every dish we enjoyed at Dragonfly was spot on. The chef doesn't serve fussy or fancy. Instead, the focus is on cooking natural ingredients (and seasoning them) perfectly and layering flavors to create a more complex dish. I now realize it's a shame that I've waited years to visit this restaurant, and I hope it won't be many years before I return.
If you won't be in the Columbus area any time soon, then check out DragonFlyNeoV.com to learn more about the restaurant's cookbook. According to the site, it will be out next year.
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