It took me much longer than it may have taken most of you to become a sushi fan. Learning to appreciate the textures, combinations of flavors and the delicate subtleties and nuisances took a while, especially when all you order is California Roll.
Little by little I ventured further and further into the sushi world of experiences. I began to travel more. Then being single again, going to sushi restaurants became something I could do alone or when entertaining guests and dating. Suddenly I had dined in more sushi restaurants than Italian (rediscovering them now) and because I do have some background in food and art, I really started to get it.
I worked in Studio City for over 30 years in what is known as "Sushi Row". I thought I had been to the best of what our area had to offer when it came to Sushi. A sushi restaurant named Chiba kept coming up as a place I needed to try, but with a location Saticoy and Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, this was not a destination that I was used to going to, especially for “the best and freshest sushi in Los Angeles” as everyone had said. Then, someone brought me a salad from Chiba as a present. I remember thinking I would have saved the drive and gone to the 25 other sushi places around Studio City for an Ahi tuna salad....I was wrong.
Thanks to my friend Mike Fasano, I was able to fast forward myself into a close relationship with Shig Chiba and his family’s Chiba Sushi Restaurant. They taught me what fine sushi dinning is all about. Shig and his family have created, in my opinion, one of the best traditional Japanese sushi experiences you can have outside of Japan. The restaurant has celebrated over 40 years of providing this North Hollywood area with a diamond of an establishment, made from honor, love and pride that all started with Shig's father. Shig has faithfully continued with and grown that vision and I have a feeling it may eventually be handed off to his very intelligent daughter some-time in the future. I have sat next to a customer who has just gotten off work after pounding nails for 10 hours while on the other side of me are Steve Lukather and his son, Trevor. This restaurant's soul is that it is home to everyone, its heart is master chef and owner Shig Chiba.
The menu looks typical; however, off the menu is where it all starts to blossom. They serve delicacies in every shape and form, from broths and soups, home-made pickled vegetables, to varietals of fresh seafood, some only found in restaurants in Japan. The quality of fish is superb! You see it, you taste it, you know and feel that something very special has just been prepared for you. I could name all the things I have had the pleasure of eating at Chiba, but it would rob you of the joy of discovery. Some, I NEVER would have believed I would ever eat or enjoy, but they have my trust and if Shig says “try this”...I do.
To get this caliber of product, it takes a relationship with the people who control the fish markets in Japan. For over 40 years, starting with Shig’s father, this respect and relationship has paved the way for the best of what is being pulled out of the Pacific to end up in front of you at Chiba. This is not by lottery, this is not some restaurant supply house delivering your catch of the day, no, this is the cultivation of a family wanting every person who eats at their restaurant to have been served the best.
You can find more trendy, modern or fancy places. This is Los Angeles and we pride ourselves on smoke and mirrors so of course that is out there. But, let me share this, I have brought people from all over The Nation here and each time I have witnessed true gratitude for sharing this sushi experience with them.
Chiba Japanese Restaurant
7515 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91605
Hours: 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5–10:30PM
Phone: (818) 765-9119