By Lisa Petrillo

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s lunchtime at the Dragonfly Izakaya and Fish Market located in The Shops of Downtown Doral.

This is the third location in Florida, the other two being in Gainesville and Orlando.

All are modern interpretations of Japanese mom-and-pop taverns. The 6000 square foot venue with warm woods and a large sushi bar offers seating inside and out. It’s a new take on Doral’s growing dining scene.

“People still are trying to figure out what Doral is, but I think us being here is going to create something more for Doral,” said Chef de cuisine Masa Hamaya.

The restaurant’s adjoining fish market is a nod to the famous fish markets and the many popular street vendors in Japan. And there’s something very unique about Dragonfly, something very traditional in Japan.

“This is a month old. It’s not that I forgot about it, no one else is doing it,“ said Hamaya as he sliced into a filet of aged bluefin tuna.

The aging is a scientific process. When the outside is cut off it reveals the inside, a fresh and fatty delicacy.

“Most of our sushi and fish is aged from one day all the way to one month. We do that in Japan, however not very much in America yet. We are the first ones to do it in Miami,” said Hamaya.

After slicing the aged tuna, Hamaya adds his Japanese rice with a pop of wasabi and a paint of aged eel sauce.

“It’s a three-year-old eel sauce. We’ve got a lot of age on this plate – just like me,” Hamaya said with a smile.

The proof is in the bite.

“The way we make sushi is a lot softer than other restaurants because we want everything to fall into your mouth,” said Hamaya.

“It melts in your mouth, said Petrillo. “It melts in your mouth.”

Next is a Dragonfly signature roll that includes fresh mixed crab with garlic chips.

“There’s a little heat and a sweet and a crunch, where does the that come from,“ asked Petrillo.

“The heat comes from a garlic puree and crunch is from garlic chips,” said Hamaya.

For a hot meal, Hamaya served braised short ribs with bean sprouts, corn, cabbage, and an added poached egg to bring creaminess to the sauce.

“That’s crazy good,” said Petrillo after tasting.

“Yes all of the connective tissue has been broken down, that’s why it’s so soft,” he said.

“It’s so tender and soft, you don’t need teeth,” said Petrillo with a laugh.

The meal ends with a Dragonfly original – Norwegian mackerel cooked on Japanese charcoal served skin on.

“So you leave that skin on purpose,” asked Petrillo.

“Of course, because the skin has a lot of flavor and crispness,“ Hamaya explained.

“It’s really good,” said Petrillo.

Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market – offering an authentic and unique dining experience in the heart of downtown Doral.

Its opened 7 days a week lunch and dinner. Brunch on the weekends.

For more info: http://www.dragonflyrestaurants.com

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