PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - For some people, just trying sushi is an adventurous experience. But one Punta Gorda restaurant is putting a whole new twist on the Japanese rolls and the way they're served.
There's nothing ordinary about Torch, from draping beads to icicle lights to the curvy ceiling. That goes for the menu, too. The bistro, sushi and rum-tini bar serves everything from elk to pot pie, but it's the "naked sushi" that has people talking.
"I though it was really cute because it reminded me of the Sex and the City movie," Donna Mayo said, who was visiting Punta Gorda.
It's called "Nyotaimori" which in Japanese means "female body presentation." Models lie on a table in a private room. Covered in leaves, petals and body paint, people eat sushi off their bodies.
"We have had people for 77th birthday party come in with 14 people to do this, and it's classy, it's elegant, and it's done with taste, not with tackiness," Torch owner Shane Federici said.
The sushi never actually touches the model's body. First, a nori leaf is placed on the skin followed by the sushi. Then, guests can take their chop sticks and pull a piece off.
The model also wears flesh-colored undergarments and carefully cleans and shaves their body before the meal. Federici got the idea to bring it to Florida on a visit to Las Vegas.
"We wanted to let everyone know we are edgy but we are respectful and that's the way we are going to keep it from this point on as well," Federici said.
Some still prefer it the old-fashioned way. "I ordered the sushi tonight and it's the first time I've had it so i am all about the food," Kiki Sander said.
Her friend asked "Not necessarily the naked sushi part?"
"Exactly," Sanders said.
Still, others are curious. "I've heard that and I be more than happy to go," Wayne Bernard said.
"We are definitely putting our foot in the ground and we're putting it in concrete not in the dirt," Federici said.
The "nyotaimori" isn't something that just happens everyday. You have to schedule at least a week in advance. It's become so popular, in fact, that every weekend is booked until February.