it's not, but Kikuya offers something unique among Hyde Park's diverse roster of eateries: solid sushi and a wholly Japanese menu (added bonus: it's mighty authentic and decently priced). The shoebox-size space, tucked next to the 55th Street Metra tracks, serves up 1980s-reminiscent decor and soft Japanese music (mainly pop) to the patrons seated at the dozen or so small wooden tables.
Slide into a seat and start perusing the menu. This place boasts plenty of chicken, beef and seafood dishes (the Salmon Butteryaki—grilled salmon sauteed with plenty of butter and plump, tender mushrooms—is particularly popular). For appetizers, skip the pedestrian gyoza and opt for any of the many tempura dishes on the menu (which retain their crispness even when delivered).
Those seeking sushi won't be disappointed; you'll find everything from simple squid and masago to complicated, decadent rolls like the Cubby (fried salmon skin wrapped around a super-creamy combo of cream cheese, caviar, avocado, cucumber and spicy mayo). Few items on the menu cross the $10 line and two-bite portions of quality yellowtail, mackerel, tuna and salmon won't set you back more than $2 each.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Rockwood