From the owners of Lemonade comes a meaty new, al fresco experience
By Shanee Edwards
After many hungry months of waiting, amidst the dust of the remodel of the mixed-use retail and residential mall called Runway in Playa Vista, Bull & Butterfly is finally open, serving dinner under string-light adorned gazebos on two patios.
Brought to you by restauranteurs Alan and Heidi Jackson, creators of the fast-casual, comfort food-rich Lemonade restaurants, with Executive Chef Robbie Nowlin (Otium) leading the kitchen, this California steakhouse has a modern, coastal vibe that’s sure to impress Silicon Beach’s tech-heads.
In the wake of COVID-19, the traditional steakhouse has been forced to adapt to al fresco sensibilities and Bull & Butterfly has done so surprisingly well. The Jacksons had the foresight to build two patio areas, one in front of the restaurant and one on the side.
“We built this before the pandemic, trying to be as much outside as we could,” said Heidi, who understands that people who live near the beach appreciate the sunny weather and love to be outdoors.
The front restaurant walls are made of roll-up, garage-style doors that allow the inside to spill out into the open-air areas, connecting the entire restaurant.
The menu features “Asada Style” steaks and meats along with the expected butcher-cut steaks and chops, their proper names nodding to the cattle ranches and farms where the cuts of meat originated. Sides include “Charred Sprouting Broccoli” and “Ember Roasted Sweet Potato.” Be sure to order the “Warm Wagon Wheel Bacon Biscuits” with house-smoked butter, to complete the indulgence.
But it’s the menu’s less traditional dishes that really tempt the palate. Smoked Spanish octopus, pickled shrimp toast, pan-roasted sea bass and spit-roasted chicken are worth bypassing the red meat. The Spanish fried rice with Mexican Gulf shrimp, Spanish chorizo and smoked pork belly is the perfect California alternative to paella.
Starters include burrata toast, grilled mojo pork ribs, pork belly lettuce wraps and several salads including the “B & B Caesar” salad with sourdough croutons, to which you can add chicken, swordfish or steak skewers.
Hand-crafted cocktails with clever names include the “Dove Gone Love Song,” made of Casa Noble Crystal, El Silencio Espadin, grapefruit, tarragon-clove syrup and soda, and the “Passengers Only,” made from Sacred Bond Brandy, orange and apricot liqueurs and lemon. The restaurant’s house Prickly Pair, comprised of Tito’s vodka, cucumber, aloe liqueur and lime, is available on tap.
Inside the new eatery, seafoam green accents in the natural wood décor pair beautifully with the pink neon butterfly that matches servers’ pink button-down shirts. The gorgeous horseshoe bar is accented by a colorful chandelier seemingly constructed of natural materials. Alas, it may be some time before patrons can fraternize at the bar, but this one is so inviting, it’s worth the wait.
Bull & Butterfly is located at 12746 W. Jefferson Boulevard, Playa Vista. Hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant stays open till 10 p.m. Reservations are available online via Tock. Visit bullandbutterfly.com.