Posts Tagged ‘japanese’

Guu Setup

A life-changing experience. Well, for two weeks at least.

There’s no greater satisfaction than introducing friends to a new restaurant, where their enthusiasm surpasses yours (a difficult feat, mind you), and their appreciation for food knows no boundaries.

The three of us seized the evening, took off for Guu and miraculously, managed not to wait an hour and a half in line…a sign for a good night ahead. Walked in to a room filled with loud, boisterous greetings, sat down, ordered sake and rubbed our hands in anticipation. K&K poured over the menu, scanned every dish, finally looked up, and said “order for us”.

Should’ve seen the grin on my face.

Although…it could have been disastrous.

berry sakegria!

Thankfully, it wasn’t! Suspenseful, this blog is not. May even claim greatest success to-date.

Matched up a couple with a restaurant. High five!

Their infatuation has since waned (1 of 2 will dispute that claim), but for fourteen days, it was glorious.

Outstanding dishes:

As the raw egg was deftly mixed into our salmon natto yukke & spooned on to a square of seaweed – held my breath, this was a favourite – if K&K didn’t enjoy, setup was gonna fail…miserably.

Seconds later, we had ourselves vigorous nods & incoherent ramblings. Yes.

salmon natto yukke

Honourable Mentions:

Tuna tartare & avocado. Layer 1 of happy. Layer 2 of happy.

Special of the night…hope it re-appears again.

B.C tuna tartare & avocado w. sesame oil, teriyaki sauce

Scallop sashimi was our hero. Fresh & citrusy with the yuzu, another ceviche knocked off the list!

scallop, prawn, squid ceviche

ceviche + deep-fried octopus balls

It pains, but easily forgettable:

Take a look at this pic. Something I’d want for breakfast. But shockingly – and note, you’ll never hear me say this again – too much of a good thing.

grilled avocado & prawn topped w. mayo & panko crust

Riding our high of good food, good company…we were also determined to get the best farewell.

Finale of a tweet: SUCCESS! the chefs screamed goodbye & our waiter ran into a table opening the door for us #guu

Try it, you may also find a compatible match ;)

398 Church St.


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Tapas… Japanese-styles.  

Immediately intrigued. Love small plates. Love sharing food.  

A girlfriend mentioned Guu to me a few weeks ago, a buddy had raved about it. Hugely popular in Vancouver. Owners just opened up a new restaurant in Toronto. Then, I read a post by torontolife. And all the comments that followed it. Then, another friend asked. Then, a co-worker.  Then, another friend… OK, that was it. I HAD to go. 


photo cred: compendium daily


We arrived exceptionally early. 5:30pm early. Well, A was on time. I was running late… as per usual. sigh. Life-long resolution. 

Atmosphere was warm, loud and boisterous; chefs yelling, waiters answering, voices raised to make themselves heard …this was gonna be great fun. 

Menu begs you to try something different. So many choices. Where to start? Our strategy: pick one ‘safe’ dish, then pick one dish you’d never think of trying. Ooo, I like this game.  

guu izakaya menu


Ok, must admit – whenever there’s salmon sashimi on a menu, deal is sealed. Can’t help it. Undeterred by unfamiliar ingredients (natto + shibazuke + takuan) and the raw egg (didn’t bat an eyelash) – this was my ‘safe’ dish…with a twist. Salmon natto yukke, done. 

Adventurous pick? The mackerel. Simply because, I’ve never tried. A ordered tuna sashimi (secret fist pump, love tuna) and deep fried calamari.  

Hungry tummies were waiting. With great anticipation. Would the food live up to the hype? 

photo cred: Renée Suen


YES. unequivocally yes. 

My favourite? The ‘safe’ dish! And uniquely different. 

Familiar flavours mixed with new flavours (fermented soybeans + pickled egglant/cucumber + daikon radish pickle). Raw egg? Yep, it holds that mixture together. Spoon on to seaweed, roll and enjoy. It’s messy. But, delicious.  

A’s favourite? Ikapiri. Calamari, spiced up with a kick and dipped in wasabi mayo. How can you not like? 



Sure enough, by 6:30pm – all seats were filled. We didn’t care. Barely noticed. Too busy saying “ohhh, so good” & eagerly reaching for more.  

Would reco going with a small group of 3-5. Just so you can sample more, and very affordable with each dish between $5-9.  

We had 5 dishes between the two of us…and probably could’ve kept going. Gluttony is at an all-time low after the holidays. clearly. high five. 

Sitting at the long wooden communal bench, shoulders touching with complete strangers, inadvertently over-hearing conversations (“seriously, I could eat this dish every single day, it’s that good”), not-so-discreetly eyeing each other’s plates, openly asking which ones we had tried… ohh, I’ll be back. 

And bringing a few of you with me. 


Stand-out dishes:  

 “SALMON NATTO YUKKE” Chopped salmon sashimi with 7 friends (Natto, shibazuke, takuan, wonton chips, garlic chips, green onion and raw egg yolk). Mix them up and wrap it in NORI seaweed.  

“MAGURO TATAKI” Lightly seared B.C. albacore tuna sashimi with ponzu sauce and garlic chips  

maguro tataki


Honourable mentions:
“IKAPIRI” Deep fried calamari with spicy ketchup and wasabi mayo
“Grilled SABA” mackerel with garlic, lemon and herb on vegetables  

grilled saba


It pains, but easily forgettable:  

 “KABOCHA KOROKKE” Deep fried kabocha pumpkin croquette with a boiled egg inside  

kabocha korokke


Until next time:  

“ABURI SALMON” Lightly seared atlantic salmon sashimi with ponzu sauce & wasabi mayo
“AGEDASHI TOFU” Deep fried tofu in DASHI broth
 “HOTATE BUTTER” Pan fried scallop with soysauce & garlic butter
“GINDARA” Grilled black cod with SAIKYO miso & white wine sauce
“BUTAKIMCHI BIBIMBAP” Rice, spicy ground pork, kimchi, assorted vegetables & an egg in a hot stone bowl 
 “OKONOMIYAKI” Deep fried Japanese style pancake with TONKATSU sauce & mustard mayo 


fyi: 2-hour time limit 

And until the hype dies down, go early. Or you risk waiting. And they don’t take your #, tell you to go across the street & have a drink while you wait. You just wait.  


398 Church St.

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