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Monday, July 20, 2020

Food, Aloha greetings, and Mahalo gratitude

Island Sushi & Grill

Food, Aloha greetings, and Mahalo gratitude

Story by Bill Bowman

Photography provided by Island Sushi & Grill


Island Sushi & Grill is one of those restaurants that is challenging to categorize. Yes, there’s sushi, hence the name. But there are more dining options available for patrons. Many more options.

The restaurant opened its doors in Las Vegas in 2008 with sushi and Japanese cuisine as their staple. A year later they added a grill component that serves plate lunches and, paying homage to their Hawaiian roots, pupus (appetizers for those of us here on the mainland).

Ah, yes—Hawaii. Owner Terence Fong, born and raised in Hawaii, came to Las Vegas and to UNLV for college and majored in hotel administration. He’s been in the business ever since and has made quite the mark on the Vegas scene. “I came out here in 1979,” he said with a laugh. “That’s dating me but it was also the start of everything.”

And everything includes helping workers find their way in the business world. Fong figures he’s had about 600 employees over just the past 12 years. “It’s great to see them go on to have successful careers,” he said. And he’s got one former worker who really stands out. “He was an 18-year-old kid named David,” Fong said. “His hair was all the way down to the middle of his back and braided. His father came in with him and asked me to hire his son. I said if he was serious, to cut his hair and come back and we would talk. He came back the next day with a crew cut and said, ‘Chef, I’m ready.’ I said I would give him a job and I did. He started as a runner and learned every station. When he left he traveled the world working, but every year he sends a Christmas card. Now he’s an advanced sommelier. Remembering back now brings back fond memories of a lot of those people who we helped make their way.”

Variety is the name of the game at Island Sushi. It’s a dining experience that will keep you coming back for more. For now it’s been take-out only. But before the coronavirus pandemic, Fong gave patrons plenty of choices—from breakfast to lunch, as well as dinner. Breakfast begins at 9 a.m., with pancakes, French toast, Portuguese sausage, and Spam options.

The lunch and dinner options are plentiful and filling. Don’t worry if someone in your group is not a big sushi fan, for there is still a wide variety of items available for your family or group. Plate lunches can include chicken, beef, pork, or other choices.

And did we say options? Well, how about vegetable rolls (eight different choices), regular rolls (11 varieties), baked/fried rolls (six styles) and specialty rolls (a whopping 27 styles). Need still more options for that finicky eater in your group? They’ve got them. There are also burgers and sandwiches on the menu, so no matter what people in your group may be hungry for, there’s something that will fit the bill.

Too busy to dine in? Again, no problem. They have carryout available (which helped them through the coronavirus pandemic) and delivery is also a choice. They also offer catering for those special occasions that bring family members or co-workers together.

So in the end, no matter your taste or dining options, the choices at Island Sushi & Grill will satisfy your needs. Need one more choice? There’s another restaurant in the family—Zenshin Asian Restaurant at the South Point Hotel & Casino.

Fong added he will show his loyal customers how much he appreciates their patronage when the pandemic rules loosen up. “When this is all over, we’re going to have specials for the locals at both restaurants when it’s safe for everyone to be back out,” he said. For the foreseeable future, however, it’s going to be take-out orders only. “We’re likely to be closed through the summer (for in-restaurant dining),” Fong said. “Right now we really want to focus on waiting until we are really safe to open up fully.”

Despite the pandemic, Fong and his family are hoping to spread Hawaiian cheer to everyone in the near future. “We really try to do aloha spirit here,” he said. “We’re always saying Aloha and Mahalo to our guests. We try to treat everyone like family.”


Island Sushi & Grill

9400 S. Eastern Ave., Suite #103, Las Vegas




Zenshin Asian Restaurant

(Inside South Point Hotel & Casino)

977 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas



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