New York City fans deal with certain lacks in our fair city: a dearth of Sephoras, questioning looks when the word "bodega" is uttered, and an absence of open-past-11 p.m. nail salons. But those longing for a distinctly East Coast vibe should head to Sushi Para II, whose subterranean location pleasantly echoes New York's many below-street-level gems. Though the space is small, a simple half-wall divides the restaurant in two, offering relative privacy for nearly every table. The decor is unassuming, as is the service, but the sushi is noteworthy. The Volcano Roll, for instance, provides the expected burst of heat, but also packs a very healthy serving of spicy salmon, yellowtail and tuna into the eight-piece order.
Though the location is utterly city, the prices are downright suburban. Amazing lunch specials aren't to be missed, like the $5.99 miso and two maki deal. Gluttons and sushi-addicts alike will swoon at the $16.99 all-you-can-eat deal, whose extensive menu of options offers far, far more than cucumber maki. Even if you don't take the buffet route, chances are you'll get a lot for a little: pair that $10 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc you've been saving with a few orders of nigiri (most at $1.50), a $3.95 heaping portion of seaweed salad and the $4.50 Christmas Roll (we'll happily consider it a gift), a tasty inside-out pairing of tuna and avocado.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Zinny Fandel