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Usagi Ya opens a basement lounge

Despite its much-lauded cuisine and atmosphere, Usagi Ya has remained relatively under the radar in the restaurant-stuffed East Village/West Town area for several years.This might trouble some eateries, but the pan-Asian/sushi standby has seemed pretty comfortable with its “hidden gem” role — until now, that is.

A few weeks ago, Usagi Ya made the switch from unassuming little restaurant to unassuming little restaurant with a happening lounge below. On Saturday nights, guests can head down to the newly renovated basement lounge, dubbed Rabbit House (the literal translation of Usagi Ya), for DJ’d beats and drink specials (like $5 martinis).

Don’t worry, the place isn’t turning into another clubby sushi spot; you’ll still be able to find all the same tasteful decor and tasty fish upstairs every day of the week. Think of Usagi Ya as the shy, reserved kid who likes to let loose on the weekend — just like many West Town residents.