With eminently reasonable prices and a no-corkage-fee BYOB policy, Kyu Sushi is a restaurant you'll leave with a full stomach but without the usual empty wallet.
Like most sushi joints, Kyu splits its menu in two, with typical maki, nigiri and sashimi offerings offset by sauce-heavy specialty rolls. The Signature Maki push the envelope with rolls like the BLT and the strawberry wasabi mayo-covered Red Dragon. If you prefer more fish-forward fare, Kyu has many fresh options, including four sashimi and nigiri boxes, as well as the occasional off-menu special. The majority of items are $10 or below, including a handful of hot entrees (various teriyakis, crab curry, tempura). There are appetizers, soups and salads a-plenty, and everything is thoughtfully presented.
The setting is intimate, and the decorations are modern and understated. Light, mostly coming from behind squat hanging lampshades, is kept quite low, giving the room a soft, plum glow, and Kyu is small enough that even when it's filled to capacity, the chatter is more of a comfort than a nuisance. Incongruously, though, a flat-screen TV hovers on the back wall. The volume is turned off so it doesn't necessarily detract from the dining experience, although it's debatable whether a silent viewing of "S1m0ne" adds to it, either. In any case, aside from this minor hiccup, Kyu is a good venue whether your dining motivations are romantic or platonic.
The room is small, with cozy-but-not-cramped seating for a couple dozen. It fills up quickly, so if you're planning ahead, it's worth making a reservation. And if you're dining in during the winter months, try to sit toward the back; the door opens directly onto the dining area, so a table in the front of the house will come with occasional blasts of cold air.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Alexander Hough