this is my first food blog, and i must admit, im a tad bit excited to share my food adventure with you! first on the list is Guu Izakaya, a japanese franchise restaurant from vancouver. Guu has been publicized so much recently so yesterday, C and i went to Guu to check what all the hype was about. we arrived there at 5:30pm, 30 minutes after opening. usually i eat dinner in the 6-9pm range, but we went early to avoid the huge lineup that forms after 6pm.
the moment we entered the restaurant, we were loudly greeted by all the staff yelling some phrase in japanese. i'm not exactly sure what it was, but i think it was irashaimase, which means welcome to the store. we were greeted by a hostess named Galaxy, who wrote down how many seats we wanted and the name of C. the wait was about 20 mins until lovely Galaxy returned to seat us.
|the gigantic wooden door of guu! it made me feel as if i was entering a badass japanese bar|
walking through the gigantic door, you feel as if you've entered a little secret world where everyone is always smiling and you cant help but feel super loved because of the (very) loud greets from the friendly staff. the layout of the place was quite tight, and the wooden tables resembled the picnic ones you see in the park. C and i were seated by the bar, which was basically a wrap-around table surrounding the open-concept stainless steel kitchen. i actually wanted to be seated by the window at my own table but being at the bar was actually better, because we got to see how the chefs made the food, which they hand-delivered to us (^0^). there were only 2 bad things about being situated at the bar. first was that the chairs were nailed to the floor, so if i had to go to the washroom, C had to slide out of his seat so i could leave. second, since the chefs have the most amazing and enthusiastic lung power i have ever been exposed to in a restaurant, i felt as if my eardrums were being abused every time customers walked in.
the restaurant offered us two menus, one paper and one laminated, and both were overwhelming to see because they were plastered with huge, 'brush-stroke' japanese writing. after much observation and scrutiny, C and i decided on a few dishes:
the picture on the left was ordered by C and was the first dish we received. i honestly thought it was unappetizing since it looks like a little seamonster, but after trying it, it was surprisingly good! the dish was called Gomaae, a common japanese appetizer that can be translated to 'black sesame' dressing. there are many gomaae dishes, but ours was comprised of a peanutty-black sesame sauce over what was seemingly boiled and lightly 炒-d (i really don't know the english word...) and salted spinach. the sweet and graininess of the sauce is what hits you first, and the saltiness of the soft green leafy vegetable comes shortly after. a perfect opening dish to make you hungry.
the second dish we received upon my order. takoyaki is basically deep fried puffy-batter balls with a solitary piece of octopus in the middle. the dish is drizzled in 2 sauces; mustard mayo and tonkatsu sauce. tonkatsu is translated to pork cutlet and is commonly found in many japanese and korean restaurants, served with rice and a very distinctive sweet red sauce. on top of the balls are bonito shavings, that curled due to the heat and looked super cool! the taste of the flakes are relatively neutral, but tend to stick to your mouth when combined with your saliva. the only other place i've ever tried takoyaki is at the annual Nightmarket event in toronto, so in comparison this was much better and much more satisfying.
|soba meshi, $8.00|
this dish was ordered from the paper menu, unlike all the other dishes we ordered from Guu which were from the laminated one. the dish was placed in a hot stone bowl, and was comprised of sauteed red peppers+ green onion, rice, and what seemed to be egg noodles, all covered in a 'spicy' sauce (as they say). i was fairly disappointed with the dish because the flavours were all very generic and there was nothing really distinctive of it. also, i very much like spicy things, in which this was not spicy at all. end of that.
|unagi doria, $8.80|
Unagi Doriamy second favourite dish of the night! the only reason i loved it so much is because i love rice, especially when it has creamy cheese on top. this dish was comprised of soft BBQ eel pieces, mixed mushroom fried rice, chopped green onions, melted cheese and seaweed strips. the whole dish was delicious to eat and had an amazing distinctive flavor. the eel was done great, and had the weird yet oddly appealing slimy texture to it, showing that they legitimately grilled it, and didn't fry it like what many other places mistakingly do. the rice was soft (and not hard like some places that make fried rice...). the dish is a little pricey, but i found it worth it and would definitely order it again.
|banana tempura, $6.00|
both C and i feel that no meal is complete without dessert :)
this was just a simple sweet dish ordered by C, because he thinks i have an obsession with the banana fruit. anyhow! it was as it seemed, deep fried banana in tempura batter, with chocolate and mango drizzle and a single scoop of coconut ice-cream. i particularly liked the crunchiness of the exterior of the deep-fried banana, and the sudden softness of the banana underneath. the coconut ice-cream was also quite delicious because for non-coconut lovers like me, the coconut taste wasn't very apparent and was actually more creamy. another great addition was that there were little small coconut pieces in the ice-cream. though i do love mango, i felt that the drizzle wasn't complementary with the sweetness of the banana and coconut, and actually created a rather sour taste.
|funny chef! he actually posed twice but i kept messing up the photo so i caught him like this haha|
|our view from the bar seats|
price: quite pricey, but definitely worth it
go check out Guu located at 398 Church St. :)