Review: Otokomae at Kitanoya Guu

by gigi on January 13, 2008

It was Jenkins’ dad’s birthday so we went to Otokomae at Kitanoya Guu or more casually known as Guu Gastown. :) Of the three Guus in Vancouver, this is supposed to be the fanciest and a bit more trendy inside. I had blogged about Guu with Garlic back in the summer and it had been a while since I was last at this Gastown location so I was eager to see how the food matched up.

Jenkins’ family had never been to any of the Guus or to an izakaya-style place before so we ordered a bunch of dishes so they would have a good exposure to what this food was all about. :)

We started with negitoro (chopped tuna belly and chives) with a sour plum dipping sauce. You can spread the negitoro on your choice of saltine (likely Premium Plus) crackers or seaweed. I liked the contrast of the sour and tangy plum sauce with the creamy and slightly sweet tuna. The seaweed was a bit difficult to eat with the tuna though because it was difficult to balance the tuna on.

guu

Ebi Chilli Mayo is one of my favourite izakaya items. The batter on the shrimp here was a bit heavier than the one at Shiru-Bay but still quite tasty. The chilli mayo sauce was also lighter which gave it more of a shrimpy flavour. I would have liked it if this dish was a bit bigger though. :)

guu

Next came the crab cake in a tomato-based sauce. The crab cake was very creamy and went quite well with the tomato sauce, which was not too overwhelming for the crab. I think this dish would have been nice if there was something to spread the crab cake on to offset the creaminess.

guu

The grilled duck breast with mango and blueberry sauce was very tasty. The tang of the mango and blueberry sauces complemented the juicy duck breast.

guu

I was somewhat disappointed by the oyster gratin. It sounded so good in the menu: oyster, peas, and broccoli in a cream sauce baked with cheese. The oyster pieces were very small though and few and far between. One good thing about this sauce though was that the amount of cheese was just right and it was not too heavy.

guu

This next dish was one of the best of the evening.  The grilled saba with deep-fried garlic chips is also offered at Guu with Garlic and comes on a sizzling hot plate.  The saba (mackerel) is moist inside and crispy on the outside.  One would think that the massive amounts of garlic chips would be too much but this actually went well with everything! :)

guu

The okonomiyaki at Guu is one of the best I’ve had in Vancouver.  It is a Japanese-style pancake and is packed with veggies and seafood.  The bonito flakes on top add a nice touch to the dish and the mix of sauces on top complement this very well.

guu

The stone bowl rice came in a sizzling bowl and was mixed for us by our server.  It was slightly spicy and came with a mix of veggies and ground pork.  Because the rice was mixed at our table in the hot stone bowl, the edges of the rice were still being cooked by the stone and had a nice crunchy texture.

guu

The shio yakisoba was ordered as a “filler” dish and came with some veggies, pickled ginger, and seaweed in a tangy sauce.  I found this dish to be a bit plain for my taste although the noodles did help fill us up.  :)

guu

The ebi chilli pie sounded interesting so we ordered that for our last savoury dish.  This was basically an ebi chilli soup with a baked puff pastry on top.  I was not very crazy about this dish.  There were very few pieces of shrimp and the chilli soup did not match the puff pastry.

guu

We ended our meal with a couple of desserts.  The black sesame ice cream with maple syrup was excellent.  It sounded plain on the menu but I love black sesame ice cream.  :)  The sesame must have been pre-toasted because the ice cream had a very aromatic and toasty flavour.

guu

The deep-fried banana with coconut ice cream was also very good.  The banana had a nice light batter that still allowed the banana flavour to come out.  The coconut ice cream went great with the banana and also had lightly toasted coconut chunks in this.  If they had take-out versions of either the sesame or coconut ice creams, I would definitely buy from here.  :)

Overall, our meal here was pretty good.  The dishes were a bit hit and miss but I suppose that is the risk you run into when you are adventurous.  :)  The atmosphere in the restaurant is quite bustling and tends to get a bit rowdier later in the evening.  The lighting is also a bit dark, which you can probably garner from my pics.  :)

Details:
105-375 Water St, Vancouver
Tel: 604 685-8682

Summary:
Food: [rating:3]
Service: [rating:2.5]
Price: $$

Guu With Otokomae on Urbanspoon

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