I think it is rather to rude to assume that someone gave a restaurant a 5 star rating because they are friends of the owners. My husband and I have only lived in New Orleans for a year and he recently started working in the uptown area, so we've been looking for a rental there... and you have to eat. So on the day after Christmas, we were bored and feeling housebound, so we got on the streetcar and headed to Oak Street to go to the comic store. We had no food in the house and hadn't really had much to eat that day, so we planned to have dinner while we were on that side of the city. We had noticed Chiba on a previous walk down Oak Street and wanted to try it, so we stopped in.
The decor is very modern. A lovely bar with booths to separate the area from the rest of the restaurant is on the left when you walk in. there is also the dining area right in front and the sushi bar on the back wall. The host at the door greeted us and seemed truly happy to be at work. We asked to be seated at the sushi bar. The chairs are very rustic and look like wooden versions of folding chairs. The seats are generous and my only real complaint about the entire decor is that these chairs are not comfortable at all if you sit back in them. If you sit forward without resting against the chair back, you're fine, but they have no lower lumbar support and the back is too high. This is a design flaw and by no means the fault of the restaurant beyond not really trying the chairs out before purchasing them.
At the sushi bar, we were served ice water and a complimentary amuse bouche of the octopus ceviche. This was delicious and the next time I go, and there will be a next time, I will order this. We were also informed that being Wednesday, it was Funk & Roll Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to midnight, and we received the happy hour menu. My husband ordered a Spicy Tuna Roll and some warm sake. I ordered a Let the Good Times Roll. The rolls were perfectly executed, small bites as the Japanese intended, and beautiful to look at. They were also delicious. We talked to the sushi chef and discovered that he was actually trained by traditional Japanese sushi chefs. We also noticed that the gari (pickled ginger) was of a very good quality and asked if it was made in house. It isn't, but it is better than the pink stuff most places serve.
I followed up my roll with the mushroom gyoza, which are made in house, come with their own dipping sauce, and taste amazing. Sean got escolar sushi, which were large and fresh. I then ordered the Crescent City Roll, which is essentially a fried oyster poboy in sushi roll form. In fact, this was the recipe they used for their poboy entry at the poboy festival the first year they were open. I've been told that there is a famous grocery store in the French Quarter that serves the best oyster poboy in the city and I've had one... I beg to differ. This is the best oyster poboy in the city. I also noticed that I forgot to order both of my rolls with soy paper rather than nori (seaweed paper). I usually find the seaweed overpowering, but the brand they use was very mild. My husband order both the pork belly and short rib steamed bun and we split them. They are appetizer sized and split in half. I recommend both of them.
Our waitresses were both attentive and quick to return with exactly what we ordered. The sushi chef (who I believe may actually be the owner) was fun to talk to and very knowledgeable. Yes, the menu is limited, but I think I prefer the limited, smaller rolls that are perfectly executed than the over-sized rolls of every variety you can think of that are too big to eat in one bite (which was the original intention) and fall apart as you are eating them because they aren't tight enough. This is our new favorite sushi place... and even better, with everything we ordered, we spent barely $100 including the gratuity of $20. That's an excellent value.
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