Dinner and Drinks at @ChibaNOLA!

8 Jun 2012

Chiba on Urbanspoon

www.chiba-nola.com

My friend Gina constantly raves about Chiba, so we decided to go there for our just-about-once-a-month lunch outing with Terri. It's always nice when a restaurant lives up to the hype! In the course of lunch, we were talking about how to help Terri promote the "Toyota 100 Cars for Good" contest that Second Harvest Food Bank is trying to win. The conclusion was to have a gathering at the Food Bank out in Elmwood, then a second tweetup/meetup at Chiba, for drinks and food. Since the food and drinks were awesome both trips, this is a combination of both outings.

"Sake Blu" - Gina started off our lunch with this concoction of Tyku Sochu, Tyku Silver Sake, muddled blueberries, with a splash of grapefruit and soda. It looked neat, so I had one last night. One turned into two. :-)

Pork Belly Steamed Buns. Our expert on the place insisted we start with what Chef Keith says is his most popular appetizer. They naturally made a second appearance last night as well.

Sushi: We ordered lunch specials off the menu, but also had one of Chiba's specialty rolls. The photo at the top is the "Satsuma Strawberry Roll" - Scallop, yellowtail, wasabi tobiko, mango, jalapeno, tempura flakes, and spicy sauce. Each piece is topped with a thin slice of strawberry and the roll is drizzled with satsuma ponzu. Without the strawberry and satsuma, this would still be a wonderfully-upscale crunchy roll. With those two additions, it's truly something special!

Chiba also does the standards well...here's a California Roll

A Spicy Tuna roll and a "Let the Good Times Roll" - Crispy shrimp, crab, cucumber, tuna, and a sweet chili sauce.

I asked Chef Keith to get us a different specialty roll from the two we'd already seen at this point, and this is what appeared:

The "Mardi Gras Roll" - Tuna, salmon, yellowtail, white tuna, cucumber, lemon, jalapeno, tobiko, and spicy mayo. We will have this one again!

While eating this one, Chef Keith explained Tobiko to me. It's flying fish roe. The reddish-orange color (fourth piece from the left) is its natural color. Various things are used to dye it other colors: Squid ink for black, yuzu (an Asian citrus fruit) for the yellow, and wasabi for the green. When Keith said the green color came from wasabi, it totally explained why Gina food-gasmed over the piece of the roll she grabbed.

Chicken Teriyaki off the lunch menu. Don't you just love those plates?! Chiba's chicken was tender and tasty, and the rice cooked just right.

Assorted tempura lunch special. Crispy and tasty!

Since Gina had the chicken teriyaki, I got the salmon teriyaki. I got the better deal!

Dessert! Tempura-fried bread pudding with a blackberry sauce...wicked, just wicked!

To sum it up, we had a lovely lunch, then a great evening event with good food, excellent drinks, @TequilaAvion, and wonderful company!