Monday, March 13, 2006

Veggie Heaven

This weekend my companion and I had one of the best dining experiences we've ever had in Columbus. The venue: Dragonfly Neo V, Columbus's premier purveyor of vegetable-based cuisine. I would highly recommend it not only for a Friday in Lent, which happened to be our night of choice, but for any evening. I was already a little hip to the scene, since I had written a profile of Dragonfly's chef, Magdiale Wolmark, for The Dispatch, which you can read here, but I hadn't eaten at Dragonfly before, so the dining experience was completely new. (I knew we were in for a different sort of experience when we were told at the beginning of the meal, "We'll be right out with some filtered water for you.")

I kicked off the evening quaffing Dragonfly's signature lavender gimlet, intensely flavored with a lavender fusion and Bombay Sapphire offset perfectly with a twist of lemon, and my companion thoroughly enjoyed his ginseng manhattan, made from single-batch bourbon. Highlights of the meal included our amuse-bouche (French derivative for appetizer, typically referring to a small one-to-two bite portion to tickle the tastebuds) of king oyster mushroom and beets, drizzled with something that was absolutely delicious. What it was, je ne sais quoi, but believe me, I never knew beets could be so satisfying.

I really enjoy Magdiale's approach to cooking, which means not only a reliance on local, seasonal ingredients, but also sparing, indulgent use of the finest ingredients, with smaller quantities of food. (When I say smaller quantities, I mean that they're actually normal, un-Cheesecake Factory, non-Friday's-mile-high-chocolate-pie-sized portions.)
One example: Instead of the typical bread basket (which I usually inhale) our server brought us a small plate with two carefully arranged homemade baguette slices and a dollop of handmade savory olive tapenade. The smaller portion size made me want to savor my entire slice of bread, which I did, spread generously with the tapenade, and I found that I didn't eat it as mindlessly as I usually eat bread at Italian restaurants, sopping up endless quantities of olive oil and requesting another round.

We enjoyed our leisurely dining experience so much that we opted to stay for dessert (chocolate mousse spread over a coconut cake accented with an orange tuile) which meant that we missed the $5.00 showing of Crash at the Arena Grand that we'd planned to see. We caught the late showing of Brokeback instead. Dragonfly is one of those places that I'm really looking forward to sharing with my out-of-town guests, so come and visit soon so we can go back!


Blogger MUD said...

Hey, I wanna go! And I like the name. Don't miss Crash again, btw -- it's really good, and not just b/c it won an Oscar!

6:36 PM  
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