This hip and urban Far East hybrid makes more than maki: a Thai eatery comes attached. With a color palette modeled after the monarch butterfly, the walls buzz a bright orange and the high ceilings rise darkly overhead. The monarch butterfly may be poisonous, but the food here sure isn't; expect a standard fare of sushi, curries and tempura.
Small touches make the warehouse look as scrumptious as a plastic sushi display. Backlit bare branches improve a blank wall space; linen panel curtains gently sway over windows; and wavy, uneven cutouts made from pine undulate behind the diners' heads. A Thai idol hovers near the kitchen door, which happens to be covered with a beaded curtain, giving the food preparation a homey air. Over the sushi bar, big enough to accommodate five people, dangle light fixtures reminiscent of hairdryers. The view out the plate glass windows settles on a dark alley strung with tension wires between two industrial buildings. The restaurant is innocuous enough to be a perfect destination for blind dates.
The nigiri, fish pressed on rice, ranges from 50 cents for quail egg to $2.50 for sweet raw shrimp. One of Butterfly's original rolls, the Godzilla, showcases shrimp tempura, spicy mayo, scallion, tobiko, cream cheese, avocado and tempura crumbs topped with eel sauce and wasabi mayo ($14). The Golden Wing, a chicken wing stuffed with chicken, cabbage, and bean thread, dipped in batter and deep-fried, makes hot wings seem entirely pedestrian, and a wide variety of noodle dishes spice up the evening. Wash it all down with bubble tea lattes or a lychee smoothie. BYOB.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: David Rosenstock