The combination restaurant and fish market is scheduled to start operating this winter at 5341 NW 87th Ave., joining Bulla Gastrobar, Freddo Helado, Passion del Cielo, and many more eateries at the multi-use city-within-a-city.
This is the third Dragonfly for the Imagin Asian Restaurant Group, founded by Hirofumi P. Leung and Song Y. Kim. The first two are located in Gainesville and Orlando. Co-founder Hirofumi Leung says that he chose the Doral project for the restaurant after researching many neighborhoods including Brickell, Downtown, and Wynwood. "It was important for us to find a place where we felt was not saturated with too many dining options, but still be in an up-and-coming area. Doral has established itself as a business and residential part of the city, but not with many restaurants. When Armando Codina [of Codina Partners] approached us with his plans for Downtown Doral and asked us to be part of something huge, our first thought was not 'Why?' it was 'Why not?'"
Dragonfly, by the way, was chosen as a name for its significance in Asian culture as a symbol of grace, beauty, and enlightenment. Leung explains, "The eye of the dragonfly is much larger than the body, which we took as a sign that our vision will always be vast, but with humble bodies."
The co-founder explains he and his partner opened the first location in Gainesville after graduating from the University of Florida with a sushi-centric menu. The second Dragonfly opened ten years later in Orlando and was inspired by robatayaki (Japanese charcoal grilling). Doral Dragonfly is focused around the Japanese fish market. "Our guests will walk through a boutique fish market before entering the restaurant. We invite guests to come to Dragonfly because there really is no other concept like this. The thread that ties all of our restaurant together is the concept of creating Japanese gastropubs known as izakayas, and bringing that same experience to Florida."
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The Japanese izakaya concept will also include sushi, a robata grill menu, a noodle bar, a butcher, and a market inspired by the Japanese Tsukiji Market where guests can learn about seafood in workshops and purchase everything from house-made sauces to fresh sourced both locally and from exotic locales. Guests will also be provided with recipe cards created by the restaurant's chefs. Bento boxes and sashimi will be offered for grab-and-go meals.
Leung says his team works closely with Japanese and local purveyors. "We believe that our guests in Miami deserve the best, so we are working closely with Japanese fishermen to get access to those traditional delicacies. With that said, the chef and I are also working closely with local fishermen to see what our options are for creating authentic, Japanese-inspired dishes. We have been visiting farmers and fishermen during our testing phase and will be able to share some of our dishes very soon."
The restaurant's beverage program will offer Japanese spirits, beers, and cocktails, including over two dozen sakes.
Dragonfly Doral will be open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for Saturday and Sunday brunch. The restaurant will be open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. The fish market will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily. Although a menu is not finalized, noodle dishes will range between $8-11, seafood and meat dishes from $7-18, and items from the robata will range from $4-60.