Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guu Garden

Folks, we are living in the golden age of Japanese izakaya here in Vancouver.  These suckers are popping up everywhere and you know what, I really can't complain because it should reduce the wait times to get into these places.  Guu is a perfect example that chain izakaya can exist and thrive here on the west coast of Canada.

Every Guu has a theme, and this one seems to be based off the beautiful garden right outside of the restaurant. 

On this night, I stuck to my usual - the house sake.....which is probably Gekkeikan.  The stuff isn't of much use to me at home except for in cooking and cleaning engines, but when I'm out, I can't bring myself to pay too much for anything when I can just wait for a good bottle of Koshi no Kanbai to come my way. 
I'm not much of a beer drinker but for those of you who need your fix, get the "mega"....I think in Japan, this size is known as "Daijokki"
I don't remember if this was on the regular menu or the special menu, but it was pretty good for a salad.  The prawns were huge, and the house dressing tasted good.

Santen - $9.80.  Basically a trio of the daily special sashimi.  In this case, it was salmon, tuna and hotate (scallop).  Fresh as can be, but if you can, try to avoid eating sushi/sashimi at's not typical izakaya food and is generally more expensive at izakaya. 
His Ebi Mayo - $7.80.  This was pretty good and on par with other Guu Locations.  The prawns were nice and moist inside, crispy on the outside and perfectly mated with the mayo.  No idea why it's called His Ebi Mayo though

Karaage - $5.80.  For those that don't know, it's just deep fried chicken.  In this case, it was boneless and very moist on the outside, crispy on the outside.  It was served with a side of mayo and it's great either way (dip in the mayo or just a squirt of lemon)
Agedashi Mozzarella - $4.00  I found myself wanting to order this again, but I never got around to it.  It was a really simple dish, just a matter of deep fried cheese placed in a simple broth, but it really was out of this world.  I dunno, maybe I was craving cheese or something but I will definitely order this one again next time. 
Kimuchi Udon - $7.80.  A simple dish that may have it's origins right here in Vancouver.  I don't think I've ever come across this in Japan, but it works.  A combo of Mentaiko, kimchi and udon noodles stir fried together is a perfect combination, but this dish isn't exclusive to Guu.  I've seen it at Kingyo (but it's not on the menu anymore) and Zakkushi as well.

I was hungry so I ordered some filler - Negitoro temaki.  I know, I usually preach that izakaya is a place for drinking, not having a meal, but they got it right and these cones tasted pretty good....have no idea how much they were though.
Mochi Tofu Bag - $2.00.  I guess someone else wanted some fillers too, but this one was definitely cheap.
Since nobody else I was with drank sake, I had a large bottle all to myself.  I went on an empty stomach so by the time I got all the contents of that bottle down my neck, I was more than a little tipsy.  I ended the night with a couple of oyster caesar shooters.  The Bloody Caesar is one of my favorite cocktails, and oysters are one of my favourite shellfish.  I always knew they two would go well together, but unfortunately, the caesar flavour wasn't very prominent in this order.  I think it would have helped if there was a salt and pepper ring around the lip of the shot glass, but to tell the truth, I think I was pretty liquored up to remember if I really liked it or not. 
Guu Garden is the latest installment of Guu Izkaya.  The food was pretty good, the prices were pretty much on par with other locations, the service was great and the location wasn't half-bad.  Yeah, I would definitely go back........if I remember how to get there.

Guu Garden on Urbanspoon

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