Dragonfly Neo-V Cuisine

Columbus, Ohio


Image for conde.kedar

rating star

I've been to most of the top upscale vegan restaurants in the US (the two exceptions being Sublime in Fort Lauderdale and Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana) and I just recently re-visited the superb Horizons, so I had high hopes for Dragonfly.

First, the good: the service is top-notch and friendly. My host even remembered me from the reservation I'd placed a couple days prior and asked how my drive from Connecticut had been (it was a long drive, let me tell you). He also offered excellent suggestions on which dishes to choose and had a knack for detailed descriptions.

The ambiance is also excellent: this is a prime date-spot or a place to take out-of-town guests.

The first bit of food I had was the free bread plate which was beautifully presented and featured a delicious hummus spread, along with high quality olive oil, and flaky, tasty bread.

I next had a housemade gnocchi with fried dulse ($14) appetizer. I hadn't had gnocchi in a long time and the description of dulse (an Atlantic sea vegetable) sounded great. In the end, the dish was artfully presented but tasted to me like a pasta dish with a marinara sauce. It lacked zing and suffered for its lack of fresh herbs, such as basil, and also lack of spice (a few pieces of red chili could have fixed that). The dulse tasted like any other fried vegetable you've ever had, which made me wonder if deep-frying it wasn't the best treatment.

For my main course I had a seitan dish ($21) made with mushrooms, a wine sauce, and also a sauce comprised of horseradish and cream. The seitan pieces themselves were excellent: really firm and dense. I haven't had seitan that good before. The mushroom wine sauce was a bit too salty. The horseradish cream sauce, I think, was a dud; for one thing, the taste of horseradish didn't gel with the wine sauce and also this sauce was similarly a tad too salty.

For dessert I had the "farmer's market tart" which was a chocolate cream-filled pastry shell served with a subtle lemon sorbet/ice cream, and hazelnuts. I think the dessert was excellent: who would have guessed that lemon and chocolate would go so well together? I guess it helped that the lemon was greatly subdued and not too acidic. In general, the combination of chocolate creme, with a flaky pastry shell and two different types of nuts, just worked like a charm.

Lastly, before I got my bill, they gave me a free small piece of Malaysian chocolate which was great.

One strange quibble I had, which I've never encountered before: I really disliked the silverware. I've never had problems with forks and spoons before, but Dragonfly uses unusually clunky, curvy and chunky silverware which was hard to hold and angle properly, especially considering that the plates were also curved. The end results were awkward cutting motions and an inability to easily break down my dishes into bite-size portions. For such a high class restaurant, I found it remarkable that such a basic part of the dining experience wasn't looked at more carefully.

In the end, the most important consideration is that the food didn't impress me. The presentation was uniformly excellent, the service top-notch and the ambiance lovely, but the food itself fell flat, especially compared to Horizons. I'm going to give Dragonfly another shot when I'm passing through Columbus in August 2011, but the bar is set really high now.

Image for Dave Rolsky

rating star

I ate here last night and had one of the best meals I've ever had. The food at Dragonfly is easily as good as other, perhaps better-known, upscale vegan places like Candle 79, Millenium, or Horizons.

There were a few glitches with the service. First, when I sat down, there was no napkin at my table, and I had to ask for one after they brought my food. Then, after I had my entree, they cleared my place seating, including my napkin, and neglected to bring one with dessert.

The service was very friendly, despite these glitches. They were quick to bring a napkin when I asked, and they did a good job of keeping my water glass filled. It was clear that they needed at least one more person out front that night. Just two people were taking care of at least 20 or so people, which really is not right for an upscale place like this.

I ordered the "charcuterie" appetizer, the curried tofu entree, and the fondue for dessert. The food took a *long* time to arrive. Normally, this would be a problem, but the restaurant actually handled this fairly well. Early on, they brought what they called a "shiso gordita", though it wasn't really a gordita. It was a small pastry shell topped with black beans, peppers, sauce, and a deep-fried shiso leaf. This was quite good, and a nice snack while I waited.

Then I waited some more. At this point, they brough out a small piece of amazingly delicious french bread and a small dollop of wonderfully garlicky hummus. So yes, the food was unreasonably slow, but they went out of their way to make sure I didn't try to eat the place setting or my book, so I really can't complain. After all, I got to taste several more delicious things than I'd ordered.

The charcuterie consisted of two types of vegan sausage on top of some creamy polenta with some lightly cooked chopped zucchini and other veggies, as well as some fresh sour berries, all topped with some light gravy. I don't know what these were, but they made a nice contrast. The two vegan sausages were both fantastic. One was (I think) seitan-based, and served in the form of half a sausage link. The other was a tempeh-based patty. The different flavors were all interesting, and the strong flavor of the sausages was a nice contrast with the milder polenta and veggies.

The curried tofu was also excellent, though not quite as mind-blowingly awesome as the charcuterie. Normally, I'm really not a big fan of large chunks of tofu that aren't fried or otherwise cooked in some interesting way. I'm not sure how Dragonfly prepared the tofu, maybe it was steamed. Somehow they managed to give it a great texture that differed from raw tofu, while also injecting some flavor into it. The tofu was topped with a nice curry sauce. Sometimes curry powder can add a sort of sharp bitterness, especially if it has too much tumeric. The curry sauce on this dish was perfect. Spicy and flavorful without being overpowering.

The tofu was served on top of a some nicely chewy rice with chickpeas in curry sauce. The menu called this risotto, but it wasn't really the creamy starchiness of risotto that I expected. It was still quite good. On top of the tofu there were two rings of preserved carmelized lemon and some roughly chopped greens (kale, I think). The different flavors were interesting, and it all worked well together.

Finally, the fondue dessert was absolutely amazing. It consisted of a small bowl of chocolate fondue, a couple strawberries, several cookie chunks, a small scoop of chocolate mousse. Everything but the fondue sat in a pool of condensed soy milk.

I was a little disappointed that the fondue was not actually hot, but it was a wonderfully rich sauce for the cookie and strawberries. The strawberries were nice and ripe, and perfect in the chocolate. The mousse was also very good, incredibly rich with a great texture. The condensed soy milk was a nice touch, although it was somewhat hard to eat, since it was just a thin layer on a large plate. It might be nice if they served this on the side in a small pitcher or something.

Finally, they brought half a strawberry dipped in chocolate with the bill.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed. While they didn't have their act together 100%, they also recognized that and took some steps to deal with the problem. It's easy to fall apart when things aren't going well. In a way, it's almost more impressive to handle mistakes gracefully as Dragonfly did.

The food at Dragonfly is absolutely first class. It's amazing to find a gem like this in a small midwest town like Columbus. I hope the residents here know just how lucky they are. Between, Dragonfly and other great vegan places like Pattycake and Hal & Al's, Columbus is a great vegan destination spot.

rating star

This place is definitely a once in the while night out as the portions are really small and I can eat a lot of food. It is really nice to have an organic restaurant in Columbus with a very interesting menu selection. My gf did not like any of the food they served her and that was because it was a bit heavy on the oil. Mine was the same way, but I eat a lot of raw olives so I did not mind. They did a decent job with the nut butters although I have a lot better in other US cities.

I do also want to mention that they have a really good wine selection.

Image for Lola

rating star

Every time I end up anywhere near the state of Ohio, I feel the urge to go to Dragonfly Neo V. The food there is out of this world. Out of the 10+ times that I have dined at Dragonfly, I can only think of two dishes that I didn't really care for (one was a fried appetizer that just didn't go at all with my meal and the other was a chocolate dessert that had a strange aftertaste).

Some of my favorite menu items over the years include: Iced mexican hot chocolate, rainwater (a fruity-tasting elixir), a creamy chilled leek soup with dried cherries, artisan pizza flavored with white truffle oil and sun dried tomatoes and the various sorbets and tapioca creations that are featured on the dessert menu. My only regret is that I only seem to make it out to Columbus in the summer. I can't wait to try the winter menu items!

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This restaurant has very adventurous, interesting food. But it's also very tasty. It's one of the best restaurants I've been to.

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This upscale but not pretentious restaurant near the OSU campus would not be out of place in Chicago or New York. The food, all vegan, is both inventive and beautiful to look at. The chef, Magdiale, is an artist and extremely creative. The food has layer upon layer of flavor, created from both unusual ingredients and more common ingredients used in new and interesting ways. I've eaten in vegetarian and vegan restaurants across the country and this is one of the very best!

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