Tokyo’s biggest club district has an all-night sushi joint where the chef is also a working host.

There’s a unique aspect to sushi (no, not the raw fish part, since there’s cooked, non-fish sushi too), which is how much direct handling of the ingredients is done by the chef. With many other types of cuisine, it’s common to use utensils for much of the preparation and presentation, but sushi, especially the standard topping-on-a-block-of-rice style called “nigiri,” the chef will form, press, and plate each morsel by hand.

So the owners of Hey Rasshai, a new sushi restaurant in Tokyo, figured those hands may as well belong to a handsome host club veteran.

Hey Rasshai is located in the Kabukicho section of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, which boasts the largest collection of hostess and host bars in all of Japan. Specifically, it’s located in the basement level of the Shinjuku Dainana Building, where a variety of restaurants are waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

Hey Rasshai held a special celebration to commemorate its grand opening on May 2, and we stopped by to join in the festivities/eat sushi. Standing behind the counter was Shun, whose other job is at a host at Kabukicho’s Smappa! Hans Axel von Fersen host club.

Shun has been a host for 14 years, but his connection to sushi goes back even further. Since he was a young boy, his relatives have run a sushi restaurant, giving him a lifelong love of delicious fish. He also did an apprenticeship at a sushi restaurant that’s been in business for generations in preparation for the opening of Hey Rasshai.

With his handsome hands gripping and pressing our meal’s components, Shun dished up piece after piece of delicious sushi, all while applying his suave, gracious customer service skills developed over more than a decade of host work.

Like the host club Shun works at, Hey Rasshai is operated by Smappa! Group, which has expanded from host clubs into the nail salon and restaurant sectors. Hey Rasshai is the company’s latest initiative to expand the skill sets of its hosts to aid their overall career prospects, and comes after another program which led to more than 20 of the company’s hosts becoming certified wine sommeliers.

For opening night, Hey Rasshai took a page from the host club playbook by adapting the “champagne tower” that host clubs offer to high-rolling customers into a “sushi tower.”

Inside each of the artfully arrayed champagne glasses was a single piece of Shun-prepared sushi, and one special customer poured out the soy sauce for them while the assembled crowd cheered her on.

Hey Rasshai doesn’t have a set menu yet, opting instead to base its offerings on what the freshest, tastiest fish it can get is on a day-by-day basis. Most of its offerings, though, are expected to cost about 300 yen (US$2.70) a piece. Meanwhile, if you’d rather have you sushi pressed by a young woman instead of a handsome host, there’s another sushi restaurant on the other side of Tokyo that can accommodate you on that front.

Restaurant information
Hey Rasshai / へいらっしゃい
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-12-15, Shinjuku Dainana Building, basement level 1
東京都新宿区歌舞伎町1-12-15 新宿第7ビル B1
Open 5 p.m.-4 .m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]