Buggin' Out

The East Village's Bugs is so much more than a strange name

How's this for irony: Sho Boo never was given the opportunity to make sushi in her native Japan; now, she's crafting some of New York's finest at Bugs in the East Village.

About the name, Boo says, "Just like bugs gather around a beam of light, I wanted to have a place for people to get together." She's fielded so many questions pertaining to the name, she placed a framed explanation on the bar.

Get past the name and you'll find a vibe that is more akin to a freshman college dorm room (complete with The Rolling Stones on the stereo) than sleek sushi bar. Six days a week, it's Boo and one hostess-waitress servicing 15 seats with only a rice cooker, two induction burners and a waist-high fridge.

She's presenting small plates known as ippin ryori and popping-fresh sushi platters ($35 for 10 pieces) that reveal skills acquired at Jewel Bako and Sushi Yasuda.

The one appetizer we rarely consider is one we demand you order. At Bugs, edamame pods ($4.50) are sluiced with soy sauce and topped with a pat of butter and bonito flakes. Boo then blasts the legumes with a torch, creating an instant sauce.

Another favorite: A pan-fried rice ball ($13) floating in a bowl of dashi and gridlocked with mushrooms, tobiko and shrimp.

Go now; with a liquor license imminent, this intimate spot is sure to be overrun soon.

Bugs, 504 E. 12th St. (at Avenue A.); 646-918-7985