Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia, er Chiba! Vying more Sushi back in Victoria, BC

Chiba Sushi
2706 Government St
Victoria, BC

Hours:
Mon.-Tue., Thu. 11:30a.m.–2:30p.m.
and 4:30–9:30p.m. (Sat & Sun only)

Phone: (250) 383-9886

ES: For most of my life when challenging Victoria, BC’s crazy 7 point intersection and figuring out which way am I going, I always see Chiba Sushi. The thought of going into this operation crossed my mind and at least that decision is easier to make. This restaurant is cozy and blends a bit of the traditional–dining in a booth (shoes are taken off before entering)–with the modern. The atmosphere is better than that of  a wayfarer station. This place is almost overlooked because of its location. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It may be older than me!

DK: I was 19 the last time I went to Chiba Sushi. New to town, and a tad naïve. I brought along a co-worker. I hoped it might be a date. She forgot her wallet. Her boyfriend picked her up. It was not a date. Ed, however, showed up with a cash card in hand and promised me his popcorn refill at a movie later. True love comes to those who wait, or popcorn and a friend at least.

Let’s continue to focus on the positive: Chiba makes a number of unique special rolls that are surprisingly satisfying. We sampled four rolls; the Mango and the Phoenix being clear winners. Both options are constructed similarly: something sweet, something tempura, something from the sea and some avocado. A winning flavour combo in both instances.

ES: I can certainly say the Phoenix had to fight to be in our top three list. To taste Yam, spicy tuna and salmon is not really too new of an idea. I’d like to see ikura added to it for some symbolic crunch. The clear winner is mango though. You can never go wrong with bbq eel.

To round out the top three, I’d have to say the Jackie roll (not named after a certain famous martial artist) will have to fight hard to maintain its position. I loved the smokey flavour. It’s the only one of the few dishes which is flame licked, and the flavour was not altogether even.

Jockeying somewhere in our taste tests included the poor lonely soft shell crab deep fried for us to sample. I can certainly say no sushi dinner can be complete without their super sunomono salad though. When their simplified won’t do, I had to go all out: shrimp, cucumbers and seaweed. Their octopi was tops here, and no Cthulhu was harmed in the making of this review.

When my craving for Japanese outweighs other styles, I still am searching for that definitive place to regularly visit. Although I’m sad Shingo Sano of Fudo Sushi has moved on to pursue new endeavours, a buddy recommended this place as a possible replacement. But after this visit with Don, I’m in the fence about it.

DK: I wasn’t digging the texture and taste of the crab. Along with the hot pot; it’s one of Chiba’s dishes that can be safely ignored. Ed, I am curious to hear how you rate the freshness of the items we sampled. I felt some elements lacked vibrancy. It’s also a shame the lunch menu seemingly has no rolls on it, as I feel like that’s where the value is here.

ES: I think the freshness is hit and miss. I agree the crab was very lonely. I had better when I was in Seattle, where it was truly crispy fried. It really needed a better dip.

I’m guessing for lunch, Chiba assumes everyone will do bento. Such is not the case, and I’m guessing they have a separate lunch menu than the book they gave us. One thing I noticed is the higher end offerings are not on the menu. Uni is not always available; you’ll have to ask for the higher end productss.

DK: All-in-all Chiba is an average mid-tier joint with flashes of excitement. Perhaps that’s why it seems to appeal so heavily to people with young children (almost every table other than ours was occupied by a family). Surprising then that I can’t recall seeing a single Skip the Dishes driver come thru while we were dining.

3 Stars out of 5

 

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