Butterfly, San Francisco

CIMG1940.JPGThis is one of the funkiest restaurants I’ve been to (funky – is that a daggy word? Is daggy a daggy word?).  Located right on The Embarcadero, San Francisco, its uber-cool status is reflected in its clientele who look like they could have just walked off a photo shoot for a spread in Marie Claire.  It’s “pan asian” which I’m assuming is what the Americans call mod Asian/fusion.  Whatever it was, it worked.  We had some entrees to share – Sesame Coated Endamame (US$3) was a large bowl with a great flavour added by the sesame oil.  Four duck confit spring rolls (US$9) were crispy on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside, served with chinese hot mustard and honey dipping sauce.

We also tried the Kalua Pig with Butter Lettuce Cups – a twist on san choy bau. Wow.  The texture of the melt in your mouth pork cubes, with the crunch of nuts and the sweetness of the hoisin BBQ sauce was finger licking good and at US$10 was a steal, with enough for 2 serves each.  A bit of chilli would have elevated its status from delightful to heavenly for me.   The Fire Fried Calamari was just the only average dish we tried. It was slightly rubbery, and the batter too oily.  But was a generous portion for the price US$9.   I think we were well full after that. The serving sizes are amazingly generous, and presentation mouth watering. I’m not accustomed to such value for money here in Sydney!  

Well I can’t speak for the others, but the main course was outstanding.  After tossing up between my options (they were very reluctant to cook most things beyond “medium” so that ruled out the Ponzu Grilled Hanger Steak US$20.  My dislike of blue cheese ruled out the Macadamia Nut and Blue Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon, so finally I convinced the waitress to let me order the Pan Roasted Duck “Peking Style” with green onion crepes at medium well, for US$29.  The serving – like many things American – was HUGE and I could not finish it, leading my host to believe that I didn’t like it. In fact I was full from the entrees! (or, appetisers as the yankees call them).  The duck was delicious and tender (despite the waitress’s protests), and moist on the inside with a great leg and skin.  Sadly, the crepes were too soggy to wrap and were more like omelettes. Nevertheless, I loved it.

And dessert at only US$6 was amazing – a trio of refreshing sorbets with a dried pineapple wafer and green apple salsa. Great way to finish my meal and ensure I need not eat for a few days after.

I do have to say though out of loyalty to my host, that we were extremely disappointed, that when we enquired about why there was a compulsory 10% gratuity added to the bill for our table of 4 (whereas the menu says it’s only the case for 6 or more), our waitress chose the “honesty is the best policy” approach.  Her reply was (Get this) “Oh we usually do that for europeans as we find that generally they don’t tip, and it would be like we’re paying to serve you”. In the words of Michelle from that San Fran institute/TV Show, Full House: “How rude”!!!.

So if you’re not european, please do go try it.  Pier 33 at Bay Street, San Francisco.

Leave a Reply