Homey Japanese at Bugs

Chef Sho Boo worked for a decade at Sushi Yasuda and Jewel Bako, but now that she has her own restaurant, she's turned her attention from high-end sushi to home-style cooking. At Bugs, her two-month-old Japanese spot in the East Village, she offers a frequently changing menu heavy on small plates, which she turns out solo from a sliver of an open kitchen.

An early hit is local snapper, dipped in katakuriko (potato starch), crisped by a gas torch, and topped with sesame seeds—"ridiculously good!" silencespeak raves on Chowhound. One recent variation (pictured) came with broccoli rabe and mushrooms in ume sauce.

Chef Boo's sushi training isn't going to waste. Sushi turns up in six- or seven-course tasting menus that sound like a bargain, topping out at $60. foodwhisperer describes fresh, high-quality fish in modern presentations; highlights include sawara (Spanish mackerel) with a knockout uni sauce and engawa (halibut fin) topped with miso and scallion.

About that name: Noting that bugs are drawn to the light, Chef Boo hopes to make her cozy restaurant "the bright light that everyone would gather around." The early word on her cooking suggests that might just happen.

Bugs [East Village]
504 E. 12th Street (between Avenues A and B), Manhattan
646-918-7985

Discuss: "Bugs" Japanese restaurant (Yasuda-trained Japanese chef's new restaurant) in East Village

Photo by JH Barbee