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Kiku means "chrysanthemum" in Japanese, which may explain the restaurant’s subtle pale green and cool gray color-scheme and its quiet, Zen-like ambience. Walk through the door and soft-voiced waitresses lead you to a banquette with the grace of geishas.

Open since September, on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Kiku offers a lunch special that gives diners a lot of bang for the buck: $7 or $8 (depending on the sushi chosen), buys you a bowl of excellent miso soup or a green salad with a sprightly ginger dressing, followed by two kinds of sushi (the white salmon is pure velvet), an elegant Japanese-style egg roll and a pile of crisp, salty "eda mame" (fresh soybeans in the pod) beautifully arranged on a long oval plate.

For dinner, chef Wen Zhuo offers classic plates of sushi (the Kiku wasabi roll special with salmon, cucumber and three kinds of roe is at left) and sashimi as well as entrees like Chilean sea bass with miso glaze.

Kiku (177 Fifth Ave. between Berkeley Street and Lincoln Place) accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. Entrees: $13-$18. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call (718) 638-3366.

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