As the lyrics by famous Hawaiian artist, Justin Kawika Young says, “You can take the boy from the island, but not the island from the boy. ‘Cause the island stays in your heart and I’ll never forget where I’m from.” This connection to one’s hometown resonates with many who have left not only Hawaii but also anywhere one grew up. For many, who they are has a lot to do with where they grew up, and for some, who they are IS where they are from. There is no separation between the two. This is Hawaii and its people. The innate need to connect oneself to the culture of one’s hometown plays out in all aspects of life – personally, socially, and professionally.
Born and raised on the islands of Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii, the owners of Island Sushi and Grill have a strong desire to give back to the people of Hawaii, as well as bring love, life, and aloha of the islands to the mainland. As a few of the many Hawaii-born that have since moved to Las Vegas, the owners have each established careers in which they felt that need to connect with their hometowns. As any person from Hawaii will probably tell you, what they miss most about “home” is first, the people and then the food – or maybe vice versa.
The birth of Island Sushi and Grill was the perfect fulfillment of their desire. With their service industry and professional experience, the owners and staff strive to bring you not only the best, affordable meals in Las Vegas but more importantly, service with the infamous “aloha spirit” of Hawaii. A meal at the restaurant will not only curb your craving for a taste of Hawaii but will probably make you want to pay Hawaii a visit.
The restaurant is unique; as it encompasses two cuisines, two concepts, with two separate dining facilities. Island Sushi, open since 2007, serves sushi and Japanese cuisine. In 2008, the company added a grill component, adjacent to the sushi restaurant, which will serve “plate lunches” and pupus (appetizers). Both offer dine-in, take-out, and catering services. Sushi and Hawaii go hand-in-hand. In Hawaii, the ocean is an integral part of the culture. People from Hawaii know fresh fish. They grow up fishing, diving, and spearing and often eat their catch straight from the ocean. This, combined with Hawaii’s 40 percent Asian population allows the islands to be a premium location for learning about and consuming some of the best raw fish and Japanese cuisine in the world.
The “plate lunch” is truly representative of who Hawaii is. The largest migration to Hawaii occurred in the 19th century, as Japanese, Chinese, and Filipinos relocated to Hawaii to work on sugarcane and pineapple plantation fields. With these diverse ethnicities came a variety of foods, which were often shared on the plantation fields during lunch hour. Some say the “plate lunch” evolved from the “bento,” a boxed lunch that Japanese workers carried to the plantation. The standard “plate lunch” consists of two scoops of white rice, mac (macaroni) salad, and an entrée served on a paper or foam plate. The entrée itself can be anything – fish, chicken, pork, beef, stew, curry. The entrée is prepared with influence from one of Hawaii’s ethnicities, although most foods have been adapted from its traditional form over years of being prepared Hawaii. It offers a hearty sampling of home-style island cooking. Hawaii locals are not conservative when it comes to laying condiments on their plate lunch. It’s usual to see one’s plate topped with anything from shoyu (soy sauce), ketchup, Tabasco, or chili pepper water (a mixture of chili pepper and other ingredients). In Hawaii, the “plate lunch” is the meal of choice for everyone, from surfers on their way to the beach to businesspeople in the process of closing a deal. With gratitude, respect, and aloha, we bring to you Island Sushi and Grill. E komo mai, wala au kakou. Come in, talk story. We are happy to share with you more about who we are and the islands we love.