Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crunchin' rolls at Chiba

Since our unfortunate sushi experience a few weeks back, John and I have been aching for a few good rolls. Although we've frequented Ninja hundreds of times before, Chiba had just opened right around the corner and we thought we'd give the new guy on the block a try. Have I mentioned how much I love my neighborhood?

We arrived hungry when they opened at 4PM, hoping to catch what was left of daylight, essential for good food porn. With only a few other patrons in the clean, modern dining room, the servers were extra-attentive and ready to take our order almost as soon as we sat down. There were many items we wanted to try, but we narrowed down our selection (as much as we could stand), ordered and set ourselves to wait while sipping a couple of iced green teas. 

The first dish to arrive was the Crawfish Tempura served tossed with a pile of arugula, wasabi aioli and citrus mayonnaise. After gobbling a few bites, I began to realize that the combined flavor of the crispy fried crawfish and the orange/mandarin mayo reminded me of something very familiar and John and I looked at each other quizzically until he suddenly burst out "It's Fruit Loops!" It's strange what memories your taste buds can evoke...

We giggled like kids as our next plate arrived, the Pork Belly Steamed Buns with a Japanese slaw and pickled onions. The buns were sweet, fluffy pillows of yum filled with thick, delectable, fatty slices of pork belly that were just delightful, but I wouldn't necessarily call a few yellow leaves of head lettuce and some carrot threads a "Japanese slaw." Workin' out the kinks still? Probably. I enjoyed these much more than John claimed to, but I didn't see him slow down at all when he polished his off in two large bites. 

Next came what we had been pining for, our rolls. We got a Crunchy Spicy Salmon, Rock Shrimp Avocado and one of their specialties, the Gulf Coast Roll. The first two were our "safe" choices while the last was a risk and I am pleased to say, they were all delicious. In fact, I think I enjoyed the specialty one the most! Crispy fried snapper, spicy crab, jalapeno and cilantro were rolled up on the inside with layers of raw snapper on the outside dressed with lime, ponzu and bright, orange-red tobiko.

We finished the whole lovely dinner off with a light dessert of Green Tea Mochi sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. In all honesty, I think if they lowered their specialty roll prices just a tad, Chiba might just give Ninja a run for their money...

Welcome to my 'hood!

Chiba on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

Peter said...

Food is quite good overall, although the sushi is far better than the cooked items.

That being said, it is a bit more expensive than any other sushi place in town.

I have been twice when I needed a fix late night, but will stick with Kanno or Origami

Kimberly Ranjbar said...

I agree that Chiba will definitely need to lower their prices to stay competitive.

I haven't tried Kanno yet...I tend to order out a lot from Ninja :)

Nolalily said...

I didn't find Chiba to be too expensive as it is two cuts above any other sushi restaurant in town. Not to mention more creative and about as fresh as any I've been to.

Kimberly Ranjbar said...

Thanks for your comment Nolalily, but I don't think Chiba is more creative, nor do I believe they are "two cuts above" my favorite sushi spots. I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree ;)

Anonymous said...

One of the main factor of how they price their food is based on freshness and how the fish is handled. I know first hand that they are getting their fish right off the boat and it is flown overnight from Hawaii and you know how they handle their fish. You can tell by the color and texture and how translucent it looks. It's not all smell. Remember Fresh Big Eye Ahi is not pink in color or stop sign red. If it is then you know that tuna is flash frozen if it's pink. Stop sign red is treated with CO2 to retain it's color. FRESH should be a ruby red better yet a Cherry red where it's almost purple if it's a high grade. Take the Pepsi challenge, next time you go to a sushi restaurant order their sashimi or nigiri first, take a better look at your tuna. It will tell you alot about the rest of the seafood you will be dining on. So many people have been eating frozen fish that they think it's fresh. Also, if it's a specialty roll that has aioli of sorts, ponzu, spicy, MAYO ect. how do you know the fish is fresh.7 out of 10 times it's frozen fish. Think about it, would you use high grade fresh wild caught tuna if you were just going to put all those different seasoning,especially spicy tuna rolls. Most restaurants wouldn't but some will and that's the challenge. Finding the ones that will serve real fresh fish and Chiba is paying for that quality so you can enjoy their creation with a very high quality product. They don't want to gamble like other restaurants might, because there's nothing wrong with frozen and most people can't tell the difference especially if all your ordering is specialty rolls. Remember the saying you get what you pay for. Now days were feeding the masses and true organic FRESH produce, meats and seafood is never CHEAP and if it is I would question how fresh could it really be and is it... food for thought

Kim Ranjbar said...

Out of curiosity, anonymous, you claim freshness as the main reason Chiba can ask higher prices, but that seems to imply that other sushi spots in New Orleans are not serving fresh. Would you care to elaborate? Who's not serving fresh sushi?