Dragon King’s Daughter, currently at 202 E. Elm St (but facing Bank st) in New Albany, is undergoing some exciting changes. The Japanese restaurant has outgrown their current space and will be relocating to the corner of First and Market streets and changing up its menu with some new items. The new space will offer almost twice as much space and consist of a dining room, a semi-private dining area, and a bar/lounge for diners 21 and up who want a more grown up experience in a kid-free zone. The restaurant will be closed for one to two weeks as it makes this move, and June 28th is their last day of operations on E. Elm St. They hope to open the new location the following weekend, but interested parties should follow their Facebook page or website for updates.
The restaurant will reopen with some new menu options, including the only robata grills in the region, according to General Manager Ryan Westphal. Robata is short for robatayaki, which means “fireside cooking,” and is a Japanese cuisine similar to barbecue that originated centuries ago when Japanese fishermen cooked around a communal hearth. In this style of cooking, vegetables and proteins (like seafood, beef, and chicken) are cooked over hot coals.
“If you’ve eaten at DKD, we’re very different. We’re very approachable, and we like bringing exciting experiences to our guests,” said Westphal. “We traveled around Japan and America to research Japanese cuisine and see what experiences we would like to bring back and share in the Louisville and New Albany area. Robata was our number one pick. It’s not just the grill, though. We have some other new experiences and small surprises we want to bring to people.”
There will be two of these grills in the bar and lounge area (to separate the vegetables from the meats, so they can meet vegetarian and vegan diners’ needs). About 15 guests will be able to sit around the grills to dine and watch the chef prepare their meals, although the robata menu will be available throughout the restaurant. The menu will also be adding ramen dishes to the lineup, which Westphall says is available in other local restaurants, but they want to do it right.
DKD will also be hiring eight to ten new employees to help run the new location, which seats about 50 more people than their current location. They are especially looking for line cooks but will also be adding servers and hosts.
“We have very little to no turnover, and it’s rare to have an opening here,” he said. “It’s because we treat people right, and they treat us right. We have a great team, and we’re only hiring because of the growth.”
Photography courtesy of Dragon King’s Daughter: Bonito Festival Roll – $12 – Grilled salmon, avocado, masago, unagi sauce, and spicy mayo inside. Torched toro salmon, green onion, bonito, unagi sauce, and Japanese mayo outside.