Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2010

Courtesy of WDI

Rainbow Roll Sushi has long been a favorite of Tokyo’s foreign community—and for good reason. With an eye-catching interior, bilingual staff and a lively mixed crowd, it’s one of the city’s most insistently international restaurants.

But tastes change and formulas get stale, so RRS recently gave its menu a makeover. The food may be new, but the feeling is familiar: creative dishes that are served with flair, and varied enough to please all comers.

Dinner is best started with simple chilled edamame, flavored with either lime-salt or wasabi; we chose the latter, and though we wished the beans had more kick, they nicely complemented our late-summer cocktails: a yuzu Mojito (¥850) and something called the Yuki (¥850), which combines sake, yuzu-flavored honey and lemon juice.

A pair of excellent chilled dishes followed: seared tuna, which was dressed with a piquant seaweed-tomato salsa (¥1,500), and smoked salmon, topped with bitingly bitter greens and seasoned with an offbeat Indian spice mix known as dhana jeera (¥1,300). We were so intrigued by the baked aburaage with cheese from the menu of hot dishes that we couldn’t resist an order. Made with mayonnaise and shuto (pickled fish guts), its flavor was eerily similar to potato skins, an American bar staple. Go figure.

We then asked the staff for a couple of sake recommendations, and for novices like us, they suggested the Ryoukan, a mild junmai ginjo from Niigata (¥850). Fans of bolder nihonshu will enjoy the Tottori junmai known as Hiokizakura (¥850).

The sushi rolls that give RRS its name remain the linchpins of the menu. Don’t miss the indulgent dragon roll (made here with eel tempura; ¥1,400) or the spicy tuna roll (¥650 half; ¥1,200 full)—two global favorites that are right at home in this outpost of international dining.