4. Dragonfly Neo-V

Story by Robin Davis + Photos by Jodi Miller

I don't go to Dragonfly just because it serves vegan food; I go because it's good food that happens to be vegan.

The unassuming restaurant sits on a bare-bones strip of King Avenue near Victorian Village. Inside, pressed-tin ceilings and fresh flowers are nice touches in an otherwise simple space.

In comparison with the sleek and simple surroundings, the plates coming out of the kitchen are intricate works of art. When it comes to the food, it's truly Chef Magdiale Wolmark's vision. His frequently changing menu is filled with quirky veggie-based inventions, including some dishes that replicate ones made with meat.

He uses hon-shemeji mushrooms to make faux calamari, coating them in a light batter and frying them till crisp. The tender nuggets sit on a bed of well-seasoned tomato sauce, and somehow even have a taste of the sea.

Customers don't mind waiting the 25 minutes it takes for the mushroom risotto--it's made from scratch to order--because it's something of a masterpiece. Studded with vegetables and infused with a deep, earthy flavor, it's purely satisfying.

The same is true of the mac 'n' cheese, a dish the restaurant can't take off the menu. Unsurprisingly, the best part of this comfort-food classic isn't the orzo tossed with a full-flavored vegan cheese sauce. It's the vegetables--sauteed collard greens and crisp breaded mushroom--that are really the stars.

Dragonfly specializes in fun mixed drinks, too. The Jezebel is a flirty, colorful concoction of orange vodka, cranberry and Goldschlager. And for those not imbibing, a glass of Raenfall--a fruity lavender punch--is light and refreshing.

Dragonfly Neo-V 247 King Ave., Victorian Village 614-298-9986 neo-vevents.com Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Saturday

The Crave 10 1. Rigsby's 2. G. Michael's 3. Kihachi 4. Dragonfly 5. Basi Italia 6. Sage 7. Refectory 8. M 9. Alana's 10. Worthington Inn