Dragonfly Gainesville “Our Table” Blog Post: Favorite Pairings

Posted on: 05.15.2018

Dragonfly Gainesville Main Dining Room

It Started with Tea….

Growing up in Japan (and later in Hong Kong), I never understood and appreciated all the fuss over my dad’s overzealousness lunchtime tea drinking habits. It was always the debate over choice of Chrysanthemum or Aged Pu-er Tea. I always chose the Aged Pu-er Tea. It just made everything I ate taste so much better (and it’s much easier to pronounce than the other one). There was—and still is—something about the deep, dark, and complex flavors. At the time I was too young to describe it that way— I just knew I liked it.

Fast forward 20 years from those lunchtime experiences. Pairing food and beverages is a huge part of our experience at Dragonfly. Through the years of trial, error, success, and discovery, we’ve learned that (similar to finding your life partner—-Yeah, I’m hoping Lily reads this) the equation of a perfect pairing is that 1+1 will always yield 11, not just 2! There’s just something about the harmony created with pairing that brings out subtle nuances, and as a complementary pair, the individuals just become better!

Ok, ok, I’ll bring it back to food…my most recent experience with this was our 30-day aged Blue-fin Tuna in Doral, Miami. By itself, the dish is amazing, but the deep, layered, and mature flavors of the fish are accentuated when you harmonize it with the delicateness of either of my two favorite saké – Dassai 50 “Otter Fest” or the Wakatake Onikoroshi “Demon Slayer”.

Now as an older man, sitting somewhere in my XX’s (NDA), I wisely understand what I took for granted during my many lunch experiences with dad. Thank you, papa, for the introductory business lessons on how to run a restaurant.

With that said, here are some of our team’s favorite pairings…..Itadakimasu!   

Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Company Bar Manager Kristin Amron making a drink.Kristin Amron, Bar Manager
Born and raised in Miami, Kristin first broke into the service industry at the age of 20. Since 2012, Kristin has been embracing the Dragonfly Bushido and living the “Kaizen” lifestyle. She embraces competition and has won numerous accolades and awards.

My Favorite Whisky Pairing:
The Yame 10yr Japanese Whisky with the Braised Octopus Leg. The Yame 10yr compliments the savory yet sweet flavors of the octopus with its rich peppery taste and long smooth finish.

My Favorite Saké Pairing:
Tsuzumi Junmai Saké with the Baby Spinach and Shiitake Mushroom Salad and the Grilled Salmon Skewers. The earthy, buttery umami flavors you get from the Tsuzumi Junmai really works well with the miso vinaigrette, Shiitake mushrooms, and the savory texture of the grilled salmon.

Stop in and give one of these a try. Tell me what you think of the recommendations. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Company Chef de Cuisine Jeff Allen preparing a sea bass.Jeffrey Allen, Chef de Cuisine
Young, hungry, and talented, Chef Jeff started with Dragonfly way back in 2004. He’s been a rock for our kitchen and a true friend and mentor to all that know him. Chef’s love of food has led him to embrace his southern roots while exploring the boundaries of Japanese Cuisine. He serves it all up with love and dedication!

My Favorite Saké Pairing:
Jizake Tenzan is one of my favorite saké’s  it pairs great with the yellow tail pesto and the uni shooters.

To me, this pairing works well because the saké is rich and smooth with a slightly sweet and dry finish. It cuts the salty sweetness of the yellow tail pesto and the uni shooters.

My Favorite Scotch Pairing:
Yamazaki 12 year with the Smoky Dragon roll

This pairing works well because it’s a great combination of complex flavors. The Yamazaki is slightly sweet and malty with a good amount of spice and fruit.  It’s got a smoky cedar and smooth finish. That finish is the perfect complement with the smoky, spicy, sweetness of the Smoky Dragon Roll.

My Favorite Whisky Paring:
High west double rye with the Braised short ribs.

This is just plain great. The spice of the rye (without the burn I might add) is a rare find. That exclusivity is one of the many reasons it falls on my favorites list! Bringing it strictly back to flavors though… the spice of the rye pairs great with the sweet, savory, melt-in-your-mouth Braised ribs.

Great. I just made myself hungry…. time to fire up the grill!

Dragonfly Sushi & Sake General Manager Dave Piasecki talking with the bar manager.

Dave Piasecki, General Manager
From Rolls N’ Bowls to Dragonfly, Dave has been with us through thick and thin. He’s an inspiring leader, lover of food, and as our resident bar stool psychologist, he’s always willing to share a Negroni and offer advice across the street after work.

My Favorite Saké: Tenryo Koshu
The aging process really rounds out the flavor to let the flower yeast really really shine giving this saké a well-balanced finish.  With the Wagyu Carpaccio or the Bone Marrow seasonal Omakase special, it cuts right through the richness Chef has created in those dishes.

My Favorite Wine: Kings Estate Domaine Pinot Gris. This little gem is from a certified biodynamic winery (it’s a real thing, I promise) in Willamette valley. Tart and lightly sweet, it pairs wonderfully with our sashimi and nigiri selections, and it even stands up to our braised octopus and any of the other rich grilled selections.

Some of the Dragonfly Gainesville Staff Favorites