There's nothing better than making a place feel like your own. It's even better when that place is a bit hipper than the corner diner. Usagi Ya more than fits the at-home bill, presenting a modern yet intimate atmosphere (enhanced by enveloping browns and two private, front-of-restaurant, window-side seating areas) that's approachable but fashionable. It's the kind of place you'll want to take friends to, whether they're your Division Street neighbors or in town from rural Kentucky.
Stake out a seat at the sushi bar (be sure to take note of the handmade chopstick lampshades above) and choose from a roster of nearly 30 sushi choices, 20 typical maki options along the lines of spicy hamachi and spider maki, and nearly 20 special maki, which certainly make good on their name. The $8 and up rolls include the fire cracker, a with-a-bang combo of deep-fried white fish, cucumber, avocado, jalapeno, masago and spicy sauce; and summer maki, complete with tuna, yellow tail, cilantro, avocado, green pepper, chili oil, spicy sauce and lime juice. There's also a full menu of cooked pan-Asian fare.
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Schwartz