808 Tapas brings island taste to Village Square

A new eatery has opened in Village Square, one that brings the taste of the islands to the desert and includes a full sushi bar.

The name, 808 Tapas, gives patrons a good idea of what to expect.

Sous chef Rex Ibanez said the owners wanted a presence in the area.

"We figured we’d bring the flair out here, that is, an Asian-Hawaiian kind of flair," he said.

He noted that 808 is the area code for Hawaii.

The official address is 9350 W. Sahara Ave, Suite 150. It sits facing south, just east of the movie theater.

When it comes to decor, don’t expect an island motif or anything overtly Asian. The only things that belie the intent are two good luck cat statues on the counter. It’s a nod to tradition, but other than that, the place is done in sophisticated reds and blacks, appealing to young professionals and good for business lunches.

The lighting is subdued for a calming feel. It seats about 65 people in 2,200 square feet.

Two patrons were there even before the eatery announced its grand opening.

"We’re big fans of 808 Sushi," said Rose Villegas. "We go there like once a week."

The 808 Sushi eatery, 7435 S. Durango Drive, is owned by the same company.

"We knew that they were opening this place, so we wanted to try it out because we’re such big fans," said her husband, Adrian Villegas.

The menu includes sliders; a crab stack; 808 Nasu Fries, deep-fried panko eggplant accompanied by a wasabi-lime mayo; the Victorino Roll with spicy tuna and cucumber topped with tuna and garlic ponzu; poke nachos, deep-fried lotus root topped with marinated tuna and avocado; and Lomi Salmon Buffalo Caprese, 808’s version of a Caprese salad with lomi salmon (a mix of salted salmon, tomato, white onion and scallions), topped with extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar reduction.

The majority of the dishes range between $4 and $10, allowing diners to enjoy East and West infusion flavors in sushi and tapas dishes created by well-known executive chef Yoshiyuki "Yoshi" Kojima.

The new 808 Tapas didn’t just land at the shopping center without due diligence. Owner Dean Okada said he had his choice of areas where he could have opened the eatery, as there were many vacant places available, but said, "We like the energy and the shopping center, and we like the landlords here. There are lots of quality rooftops in the (Summerlin) area, and we are just looking to grow with a shopping center. They’re doing a lot, too; they’re helping out the tenants. They’re … actually helping us with our grand opening.

"It means a lot … especially in this economy, for small businesses. I’ve got other restaurants in town, and this is the first restaurant where we have tenant meetings once a month. We have our input, and they listen. So, it’s like a family."

He said the shopping center management welcomed his input, such as ideas about security and how to spend marketing dollars.

For its part, management liked the fresh aspect of the food the restaurant offered.

Village Square was purchased by Westport Capital Partners LLC in November 2011.

"The new 808 Tapas at Village Square has all the makings of a perfect meal out —- fresh and delicious food made with quality ingredients," said Veronica Meter, marketing director for Village Square.

She said Okada had enhanced the dining experience for groups of diners by creating an "intimate space with communal tables in the heart of the restaurant, where small dishes could be shared and a larger palette explored."

Hours are from noon to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to midnight Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call 702-485-3433 or visit facebook.com/808Tapas.

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 702-387-2949.

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