Review: Guu’d Eats at Guu with Garlic

by gigi on July 23, 2007

Mabel took me out for dinner at Guu with Garlic at 1698 Robson Street the other day. It is one of the three Guu restaurants in downtown Vancouver. Guu with Garlic is one of many izakaya restaurants that are found in the Vancouver area. For those of you who have never been to an izakaya restaurant, think of it as a Japanese-inspired tapas bar. Shared plates are the norm here as well as a noisy and friendly environment.

Mabel and I had been waiting to come here for days and were appropriately hungry when we walked through the door. Even though it was on 6pm, the place was already packed and we were lucky enough to grab two open seats at the counter.

We started with the okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese pancake. This is available at all three Guu locations and is my absolute favourite dish to order when I come here. The outside is light and crispy while the inside is soft and packed with veggies and seafood. The sauce provides a tangy/sweet contrast to the savoury pancake.

guu with garlic

Next came the beef carpaccio. Lightly seared on the outside, it was drizzled with wasabi dressing.

guu with garlic

When I go to any izakaya, I always have to try their ebi chilli mayo as it’s my benchmark. :) Basically, it is deep fried shrimp with chilli mayonnaise and a light sprinkling of veggies. The batter for the shrimp was heavier than I was used to and so was the copious amounts of chilli mayo. It was good…but I’ve had better.

guu with garlic

Next, we had the kakuni, which was a stewed pork belly in a sweet sauce with a soft boiled egg on the side. Pork belly is one of my favourite cuts of pork when done correctly and this was no exception.

guu with garlic

This concluded our first round of ordering. We were still hungry, so we saw fit to order four more dishes. :)

The best part about sitting at the counter is that you can see what everyone else is ordering. We ordered a kabocha-korokke, which is deep fried Japanese squash with a hard boiled egg in the middle. This is all then drizzled with a mayo-like sauce. The squash was sweet and went surprisingly well with the surprise egg in the middle.

guu with garlic

We also ordered a kimchi udon, which came with green onions, seaweed, and spicy cod roe. The udon was nice and chewy, the way good udon should be.

guu with garlic

By now, we were starting to get full..but we still had two more dishes coming…and dessert! I ordered the Tori-Karaage, which was deep fried chunks of chicken with a side of garlic mayo. I thought I was actually ordering some chicken wings, which I had seen other people get…but this was still pretty tasty.

guu with garlic

And for our last dish (before dessert!), we had the grilled saba (mackerel). The mackerel was done just right…crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. It was also generously sprinkled with slices of deep fried garlic. Hey, this is Guu with GARLIC, after all. I liked the fish itself, but found the sauce and garlic to be too salty.

guu with garlic

By now, you are probably horrified by how much food the two of us had eaten. :) But we did pack a bunch of things to take home. After all, we had to save room for dessert.

We shared an avocado cheesecake and a green tea ice cream. The cheesecake had the slightest hint of avocado and had a rich graham cracker crust. It tasted light but rich at the same time. The piece of cake was very small but was enough for us.

guu with garlic

The green tea ice cream was lighter in texture and flavour when compared to the Mario’s Gelato flavour that can be found in most places in Vancouver. It was sprinkled with small rice crackers, which looked like sesame seeds from afar. This provided an interesting contrast to the smooth ice cream.

guu with garlic

Mabel and I had a great time at Guu with Garlic. The atmosphere was fun and we got to try a large variety of dishes. It is always fun when you go to places like these with someone who is willing to try different things. :)

Details:
1698 Robson St, Vancouver
Tel: 604-685-8678

Summary:
Food: [rating:3.5]
Service: [rating:3.5]
Price: $$ and a half

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