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Carrying Tapas With A Tune

Butterfly features a creative menu set to the sounds of local jazz

So you’ve got well-to-do friends visiting from out of town for one night, and they’re expectant. They not only want to sample the fine cuisine that this city has to offer, but they also want to take the pulse of the city’s burgeoning nightlife. Where to take them? Look no further than the swank, new Butterfly, a Mission Street establishment that’s equal parts jazz club and tapas bar. The interior decor of Butterfly’s 3,500 square-foot-space, with brick walls and concrete flooring, retains the industrial charm of its previous life as an auto-body repair shop, but elegant architectural additions such as a Japanese koi pond, a “floating” wall of glass and hushed lighting offer a calm, collected environment where the city’s smart set can go to unwind.

Sno Drift Owners Gil Silberman and wife Norie Takano Silberman have incorporated their love of jazz music and their appreciation for fine Pacific Rim cuisine into one tasteful entrepreneurial endeavor. Butterfly’s music calendar features talented local acts such as the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra and the Josh Jones Quartet. If the club’s nightly repertoire and the bar’s top-shelf cocktails and extensive wine and sake lists are what initially attracts a sizable crowd to Butterfly, then the restaurant’s sumptuous food offerings will keep patrons coming back for more.

Sno Drift We all know that the best way to enjoy tapas is with a group of friends who like to share, where each person orders a minimum of two dishes for everyone else to sample. And believe me, you’ll want to haul a large group of generous friends to Butterfly, because the most difficult thing about eating at this establishment is trying to decide what to order. Will it be the mahi mahi and lobster mushu fish tacos ($17) served with a sumptuous heirloom tomato salsa and avocado crème fraiche? Or will it be the seared day boat scallops ($14) served with a dipping sauce of wasabi aioli? Or maybe you’re in the mood for something a little more zesty, like the Hawaiian style chili relleno ($12) stuffed with a succulent blend of grilled day boat scallops and lobster, crusted with coconut breadcrumbs and topped with sweetened pineapple avocado salsa? But then again, how could one pass up the Tokyo tartare ($14), seared ahi tuna garnished with ginger flavored wontons? You want it all don’t you? Well you can have a little sampling of everything if you bring enough of your adventurous epicurean friends along.

Granted, the price of Butterfly’s menu might seem a little steep compared to some of the Mission’s other tapas joints such as Timo’s or Esperpento, but it’s ample portions will satiate a sizable appetite (the mushu fish tacos are filling enough to constitute a meal in themselves), and the fresh ingredients and diverse complementary flavors found within chef Erik Hopfinger’s inventive dishes will give your taste buds a most pleasant work out.