Dragonfly buzzes onto restaurant scene
A new restaurant, Dragonfly, opened Feb. 7 in the Commercial Row space recently vacated by Cafe Meridian.
Dragonfly is the creation of chef-turned-restauranteur Billy McCullough, who has lived in the Truckee area since 1989. Most recently, McCullough was sous chef for Wolfdale’s in Tahoe City.
The restaurant drew a crowd of locals in its first days, McCullough said.
“Locals were our litmus test,” said McCullough. “They’re a hard crowd to please and in a town where good eateries are commonplace, for a restaurant to stand out it has to have a great menu coupled with an inviting environment.”
A lot of thought was put into naming the new restaurant.
“In Eastern thought, the dragonfly is a symbol of the imagination and magic,” McCullough explained, “exactly the environment we’re striving to create.”
The menu is what McCullough calls an Asian/Californian fusion. Fresh ingredients are blended with unique herbs and spices, resulting in dishes such as udon noodles with fresh basil and prawns in a Thai green curry.
Favorite dishes are available too, but with a creative twist. For example, fish and chips are prepared in a light tempura batter and served with sweet and sour sauce. A turkey and bacon sandwich is served in a pita with cilantro pesto and a side of ginger-spiced Asian coleslaw.
The restaurant has a wide selection of international wines and is focusing on wine by the glass and a selection of half bottles.
Prices range from $6 to $10 for lunch and $12 to $19 for dinner.
Dragonfly’s owner is proud of the ensemble of local talent recruited.
McCullough refers to his staff as an “all-star, dream-team,” a group of seasoned restaurant professionals and personalities well-known in the area. Sous chef Larry Abeney previously cooked at Wolfdale’s and upscale restaurants in Aspen. Pascal Robert is the floor manager along with well-known chef and caterer Gary Bulmer. McCullough has also included Wolfdale’s owner and chef Douglas Dale as a creative force behind the restaurant, consulting on every aspect of its operation.
Local artist Allison Weiss has even transformed the bathroom into a virtual dragonfly habitat.
What started as a remodel of the old Cafe Meridian ended as a complete renovation.
“It’s a cook’s kitchen, which makes sense because I am a cook before being a restauranteur,” McCullough said.
The restaurant’s opening was delayed for six weeks because of McCullough’s insistence on a functional kitchen and floor plan.
The second floor, south-facing deck offers an incredible view of downtown and is open on most sunny days. Dragonfly is located at 10118 Donner Pass Rd. on Commercial Row and can be reached at 530-587-0557.
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