Friday, April 2, 2010

"Guud" Friday at Guu Izakaya

My friend Julia and I had dinner yesterday night at Guu Izakaya. We have both been here before a couple of months ago, but we felt it was time to pay a visit there again and explore some new dishes. I arrived at 4:50pm and there was a line up outside already. Well, I guess it is no surprise since it is Guu Izakaya, and given that it is a day before the long weekend, and with such beautiful patio weather, I shouldn't expect any less. I would have to point out that lining up today was many, many times better than lining up back in January when it was like -25 degrees with the windchill.

Once we got past the big wooden front door, the chefs and waiters all welcomed us by cheering and hollering greetings in Japanese, something that they are known for in terms of providing a fun and lively atmosphere. After sitting down, the waitress promptly gave us hot hand towels, and informed us that the time limit for dinner is until 7pm. This was definitely a new "rule" at Guu Izakayasince we weren't told this the last time we came, but then we figured 2 hours was more than enough time, so not a big deal.

We knew what we wanted to order because we have thoroughly reviewed the online menu this morning and exchanged ideas through email already, so all we needed to do was to take a look at the specials (by the way, checking or viewing the availability of an online menu for a restaurant before going there is a must for any Food Junkie).

Regular Menu

Today's Specials

After a few minutes of debating and analyzing and disagreeing and agreeing, Julia and I finally decided on 8 dishes (2 from the Today's Specials, and 5 from the normal menu). We also thought it was a good idea to break up our orders into two separate orders just so we can pace ourselves and maximize our 2 hours there. So the ROUND 1 starts off with this dish from Today's Specials...

Sweet Soy Sauce Marinated B.C. Tuna with a hint of Wasabi
The cuts of tuna here were so thick and meaty! The sauce was pretty much all at the bottom of the bowl, so we had to make sure to dip each piece thoroughly. I didn't taste much of the wasabi though.

The next two plates are from the regular menu.

Takoyaki - Deep Fried Puffed Octopus Balls served with Tonkatsu Sauce and Mustard Mayo
This was quite delicious, but the flakes weren't "moving" as much as I wanted them to! But other than that, I like :)

Karaage - Deep Fried Soy Sauce Marinated Chicken served with Spicy Mayo
I was very impressed with this dish, one of the best! The chicken was extremely tender and juicy, and the thickness of the batter was perfect.

After finishing these 3 dishes, it was time for ROUND 2. However, in the middle of ROUND 1, I was becoming very dissatisfied with just drinking my plain ol' water, so I decided to order this...

Guu Original Ramune

This is Guu Izakaya's own "Tokyo marble pop". It doesn't taste like any other kind of pop so I'm not sure how to describe the taste, definitely not bad though! I really wanted to 
take this pretty bottle home.

Continuing on, ROUND 2 consists of 4 dishes, where the Beef Tongue is from Today's Special, and all the others are from the regular menu.

Kabocha Korokke - Deep Fried Kabocha Pumpkin Croquette

Beautiful~ I was glad they didn't skimp out on the pumpkin since the egg itself was quite still had a nice thick layer of pumpkin.

Brie Cheese - Deep Fried Brie Cheese with Mango and Blueberry Sauce

I ate 3 pieces! Mainly because Julia did not tell me she couldn't handle a lot of cheese when we were ordering (or else I wouldn't have ordered it). Nonetheless, I LOVE THIS. The half-melted brie cheese would slowly ooze out of its fried "shell" after taking the first bite. Meanwhile, the mango and blueberry sauce provide the freshness which balances out the fried cheese. So so good!

Rice, Beef Tongue Curry, Cheese, in a Hot Stone Bowl

This actually came pre-mixed but the waiter asked if he can mix it for us, and because he was so nice to offer (haha) I quickly said "SURE!" and failed to take a pre-mix picture :( We ended up packing half of this to go, not that it wasn't good (it was actually quite flavorful) but we didn't think we can handle much more cheese and rice.

Salmon Natto Yukke - Chopped Salmon Sashimi from Hokkaido with Seven Friends (Natto, Shibazuke, Takuan, Wonton Chips, Garlic Chips, Green Onion, and Raw Egg Yolk). Mix them up and wrap in Nori Seaweed

Again, this came pre-mixed and the waiter asked if it was okay for him to mix it, and again I said "SURE!". This came at the end (the waiter apologized for this), but I thought it worked out great 
since it was fresh and was a nice touch after all the fried food. I liked all the ingredients in this but thought the seaweed was a bit bitter.

So we went for ROUND 3. Yes, we did. Although we were both soooo stuffed (so much for pacing ourselves). But how could we leave any restaurant without getting dessert? 
We "made room for dessert" even though we really didn't have that "room" available. And most importantly, this is Julia's favorite dessert here! Oh, and as a side note, it seems to me that only girls have the mentality of "saving room for dessert". This was confirmed when we asked the waiter for a box to take the rice home, and then right after we ordered dessert. He genuinely looked confused, as if thinking "if you two have room for dessert, why wouldn't you just finish the rice instead of packing it to go???". Anyway, I digress...

Banana Tempura - Deep Fried Banana Tempura with Coconut Ice Cream dressed with Chocolate and Mango Sauce

Pretty self-explanatory, not much to expand here. At this point I'm just glad the eating is almost over hahaha. Enough fried food.

Complementary frozen grapes came with the bill. Quite refreshing after having my taste buds bombarded. We each paid $34 including tax and tips.

Another fantastic dinner at Guu Izakaya! I really hope next time I get to sit at the bar where all the action is at; I would love to be able to watch the chefs produce all these wonderful tapas right in front of me.

I am going to end off here by stating my only complaint, which is that they really should open another Guu Izakaya in Toronto...maybe somewhere uptown, or even another one in downtown, I don't care, I'm sure they will still do very well. This "lining-up-outside-before-5" business is pretty ridiculous, given that Guu Izakaya has been opened for nearly 4-5 months now! Either open another Guu, or someone pleaseeee open another izakaya?

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