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Usagi Ya: Sushi with style Print E-mail
Written by ALANA GRELYAK   
Tuesday, 21 February 2006
Do you live in Wicker Park and want to eat sushi on a floor-level table in a window booth while watching the traffic on Milwaukee Avenue? If so, this is a must-try restaurant.

Usagi Ya
1178 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 292-5885
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Dinner: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday
5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
1 to 11 p.m. Sunday
There was a time in my life when the only sushi available to me as a resident of the Ukrainian Village was from the local grocery store, a scary thought for many people. Located on Milwaukee Avenue at Division, Usagi Ya is a trendy, sleek, and pleasant sushi bar, complete with its own tiny parking lot. It is also the reason I will never, ever, eat sushi from the deli section again.


Golden seat cushions and black chairs and tables make Usagi Yaís atmosphere dark and relaxing. The music always has a good beat, although it doesnít always fit the bill for what Iíd expect to hear in a Japanese-themed restaurant. So much for stereotypes. Diners have the option of sitting at a cozy table or right up at the shiny clean sushi bar. There is also the aforementioned option of the window booth, a great place for as little as two or up to eight people. Be forewarned: it is not an easy booth to step into. A little flexibility is necessary to enjoy this luxury.


There arenít likely to be many children visiting Usagi Ya. How many kids do you know that like to eat raw fish? For that matter, how many adults do you know that enjoy it? For those adults and children that do brave this genre of dinner, anything from jeans to a suit and tie would fit in at this restaurant.


There isnít much in the way of entertainment at this restaurant, aside from sitting at the bar and watching the chef dice up your dinner. Bring your own interesting conversation.


Youíll find the usual to drink here. Iím afraid I myself cannot comment on the alcoholic side of things but I am satisfied with their selection of drinks. Lemonade, fruit juices, and green tea are all available on this menu. If you only drink water, Iíd recommend drinking only the house tap. A 12 ounce bottle of Evian will run you $4.


Iím not a huge fan of sushi but this stuff was amazing! If you attend for lunch, a measly $11 will get you the Honey Moon Shrimp Lunch Box Special. In it youíll find several good sized shrimp in a delicious orange sauce with mangoes and bell peppers, one full California roll, shrimp and vegetable tempura with sauce, Japanese steamed rice, a seasonal pickle, and a fantastic bowl of miso soup. My dining companions have all raved about the Sushi & Sashimi Lunch Box. Its makeup is similar to the Honey Moon Shrimp Lunch Box but includes quite a mix of true sushi including, tuna, salmon, white fish, and shrimp. The House Salad with citrus dressing is excellent and only $4. Individual rolls and pieces of sushi are available ala carte all day.


Appetizers range from $4-10. There are also first courses and noodle dishes available for $4-11. A dinner entrťe will run you anywhere between $18-35. The lunch box specials, as mentioned above, are your most economical choice and will cost between $9-15.


The service here is amazing. The greetings are always extra friendly and itís a special treat to be offered a basket of steaming hot towels to wash your hands with before your meal. Without a doubt, this is a restaurant that I will visit again and again.

Photos courtesy of Usagi Ya


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