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The Early Word on White and Freeman's The Butterfly

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Daniel Krieger

The AltaMarea Group's newest restaurant, The Butterfly, has a retro dining room and a menu focused on American comfort food from chef Michael White and his crew. But the classic cocktails from Eben Freeman are really the star of the show here. So far, early diners love the drinks and are very positive about dishes like the patty melt and the fried chicken, but some people feel the overall concept of the restaurant misses the mark. Here's a look at what people are saying about The Butterfly:

The Terrific News: CS from Eat Big Apple files a rave review of a recent visit: "Many of the drinks, like the aforementioned Mai Tai, Tom Collins, and the Martini, are more about properly executing classics than to create something innovative...The bratwurst sliders with spicy mustard was filled with flavor...The Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Biscuit takes the title as my favorite fried chicken in New York." [Eat Big Apple]

The Nostalgic News: The shrimp toast brings this diner back to his childhood: "For an appetizer I got the shrimp toast...One bite brought me back to childhood, eating a pu-pu platter at the Chinese restaurant up the street with my parents. Best dish of the night." [Mouthfuls]

The So-So News: Gael Greene has a mixed review: "Our savory bratwurst sliders with spicy mustard may be the best dish of the night...We're both disappointed too by the teeny blini-like zucchini pancakes...We were expecting, well?crispy, full-sized zucchini pancakes, like the fried potato latkes New Yorkers know." Her dessert, the Hot Blonde, misses the mark as well: "This sundae homage isn't even close to sinful." She's won over by her drink, though: "My $14 Whiskey Sour with maple angostura and couturier ice cubes turns out to be boozy and marvelous." [Insatiable Critic]

The Comfortingly Delicious News: The Food Doc is : "I cannot help but feel like I'm back in my parents' house in Hawaii...The desserts created by pastry chef extraordinaire Robert Truitt are plays on childhood favorites, given a modern spin." On the drinks: "Libations do not lack for creativity or enjoyment." And then the disappointing news: "Not everything was executed well at the Butterfly: the Tom Collins was overwhelmed by the kaffir lime; the bratwurst sliders were surprisingly bland despite the addition of sweet pepper relish and spicy mustard...However, it is easy to gloss over these shortcomings when the ambience is inviting, the staff is friendly, and the food and drinks are otherwise comforting and delicious." [The Food Doc]

The Heavy News: Over on Chowhound, one reviewer takes exception to the richness of the dishes: "The menu was also quite heavy--nothing really seemed light and healthy?I started with a Caesar salad. It had both romaine and kale...Between the heavy dose of dressing and all the toppings, it was a salt bomb and, as a result, almost inedible?For entrees, we got the fried chicken and the patty melt?After such in insanely heavy meal we skipped dessert?Too heavy all around." [Chowhound]

[Daniel Krieger]

The Solid Service News: Another Chowhounder is unimpressed with everything but the service: "It was cool and chic. But that was it. I wasn't blown away as I was at Costata...Everything was well executed, but nothing extraordinary? Service was really great. Friendly, cheerful, accommodating, and efficient!" [Chowhound]

The Great News: This reviewer loves the drinks and likes the food: "Who knew that a Rusty Nail could be worthy of contemplation? Or a Boilermaker, for God's sake? Who knew that a Grasshopper could be not just palatable, but complex and delicious?...My smoked whitefish mousse, for example: what could be more Northern Midwestern than whitefish? Mixed with roasted garlic and fried capers, served with some pumpernickel toast to slather it on, this tasted very good?You could say the same about the patty melt ...This isn't one of the great dishes of all time or anything — but you never got anything like this at Walgreen's. [Mouthfuls]

The Patty Melt News: One teetotaling Yelper dismisses the bar and waxes poetic about the patty melt: "It's classified as a cocktail bar, but don't be fooled: the food here is amazing. I don't drink even a little bit, but I had an amazing meal here... Butterfly Patty Melt ($17). This is a rich, heavy sandwich, but it's worth every gasp for breath you take as you work your way through it. So come for the drinks (apparently), but make sure you stay for the food." [Yelp]

The Old School News: On his blog, NY Journal, Marc Shepherd comments on the restaurant's retro vibe: "The décor offers a re-imagining of 'retro Wisconsin, though you quickly forget about it. Waitresses wear old-school black dresses with blue lace trim. Bartenders (including Freeman himself) wear short-sleeve white shirts with thin plaid ties, tie clips, and pocket protectors...Most of the ten house cocktails have recognizable names, although Freeman tweaks them a bit...About half the menu features comfort-food classics that may well have been popular in 1950s Wisconsin...Zucchini Pancakes are a terrific snack...Service was friendly and polished...The food isn't destination material; the cocktails could be, once Freeman brings out more of his repertoire." [NY Journal]

[Daniel Krieger]

The Too Much Ice News: One Yelp review has nothing nice to say about The Butterfly's drinks or service: "[O]ne of the bartenders kept nodding in my direction but never said anything to me...I was served a glass so full of ice it kept falling all over the counter. This made it so difficult to drink that they handed me a straw, but drinking was hardly a problem since there was very little to drink...I had a full glass of ice with a mound of ice on top for $16." [Yelp]

The Outstanding News: This reviewer is blown away by a recent dinner: "Had THE most lovely meal here tonight! Damn, everything was just so good. I started the night off with a Paloma, which was one of the tastiest and strongest cocktails I have ever had! It was topped with a delectable sweet and salty Aperol foam...We tried the BLT salad. UNREAL with the biggest chunks of bacon I've ever seen and a fried hard boiled egg! We had the Fried Chicken and the Patty Melt. I really can't put into words this experience, because so many things were happening in my mouth and by that time I had my second cocktail of the evening, the Blush. Best fried chicken I've ever had ?AND, to top off this wonderful experience, I was absolutely obsessed with the retro decor? Could you ask for more from a new NYC restaurant?" [Yelp]

— Layla Khabiri

· All Coverage of The Butterfly [~ENY~]

The Butterfly

225 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

The Butterfly

225 West Broadway, New York, NY