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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Toronto :: Guu Izakaya

Guu-5 Guu-2 Guu-3
I’m no stranger to Guu – while the crowds flock to the new location on Bloor, I’d like to think of this as a golden opportunity to avoid the queue! Oddly, not one but two people sent me a message this week asking me why I haven’t hit Guu yet – while a frequent visitor, I am simply horridly behind on my blogging…

The most pleasant part of this dinner that made it memorable was the sheer excitement of my friend – his first izakaya experience and he loved every moment :-).
GuuWe started off with drinks – hot tea ($1) for all and a Caffe Ume ($6) for me. I fell in love with Ume when in Japan – sweet, light, and enjoyable with a pickled prune or with a bit of soda water. I decided to try this twist – infused with coffee beans, the plum wine had a lovely aftertaste to it. Yum. I'd say that this will be a regular from now on - it had the perfect balance of sweetness and a clean, coffee aftertaste.  My friend enjoyed his Cherry Blossom ($5.80).

Then came the ordering. In true Guu’d spirit (I couldn’t resist) we pretty much just ordered whatever the heck sounded good. Some staples of course – I never go without ordering the deep fried pumpkin croquette, Kobocha Korokke and I usually love their prawns. I’ve ordered almost the entire menu by now…but this is what we had that night :-)

Uni ($9.80)
Sweet and fresh, this is always a nice way to start. While nothing will beat the delicious uni that I enjoyed in Tsujiki I would never say no to this! :-). Sushi Couture still takes Toronto’s winning spot for the bet uni that I’ve tried in the city though.

Harasu ($6.80)
Guu-16Grilled salmon belly with salt and ponzu
Kabocha Korokke ($4.80)
This is always a pleasure to slice in half to reveal the boiled egg inside. I’m not sure what they do to make this pumpkin treat so tasty or why I positively smile when anticipating this order every time…or really why I never try to just make it myself…but I just love love love it.

Ingen ($5)
Deep fried green beans with matcha salt on the side, my friend insisted we try these. So good – so simple but so good. On the regular Guu repertoire from now on! Good catch, I :-)

Kinoko Cheese Bibimbap ($8.80)
This is good, but not something that I’d particularly insist on ordering.

Gyu Tongue ($6.50)
I love tongue – but another item from Guu that doesn’t make the top of the list.

Mori Awase ($7.50)
Enoki Hotate Bacon ($6)
One of the highlights that night – neatly bundled in bacon, the mushrooms soaked in all of the delicious salty goodness. Mmm. Bacon.

Karaage ($6.30)
Well done, the chicken is always deep fried and fresh – karaage is always a pleasure to order. Koyoi also makes a good serving of karaage. Yum!

Yaki Udon ($7.80)
Served with beef and veggies, freshly fried udon noodles are neatly piled. Simple, yet tasty and well done – this is another Guu izakaya staple that I hardly fail to order.

Gyu Yukke ($6.30)
Spicy sashimi beef tartar with garlic and topped with a quail egg

Ton Toro ($6.50)
Pork cheeks! Yum Yum :-)

Takowasabi ($3.80)
Cooked octopus with chopped wasabi stem and vegetables.
I’ve ordered this a couple times – never wow’ed me. It’s just not my thing!

Kurage ($4.50)
Jellyfish and vermicelli – an interesting and springy combination! Jellyfish isn’t for everyone – it doesn’t necessarily have a specific flavour, but when lightly marinated it’s quite a pleasant side dish. It often reminds me of jap chae.

I dug into my archives…and found some nice Guu pictures that I’ve snapped over the years. Some items are no longer on their regular menu:

Guu is a great place to take a date, after work drinks, or just a fun time with friends. It’s loud, boisterous, and tasty. It’s a tad pricey, mind you, but the food and service are always consistent and I’ve been a fan for a long time.

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