Guu Izakaya its not just a restaurant. It’s a culture. One does not head to Guu for peace and quiet or to enjoy some “OK” food. When I think of Guu, I think of fantastic dishes with unique flavours, out of this world drinks and a crazy atmosphere; and I pretty much get on the Guu state of mind.
To get on this state of mind I speak of, one’s meal must start with their signature cocktails. In my case, the Otokomae.
In ancient times, Izakaya referred to places where people went to enjoy a drink and a good chat. So it is with reason that Guu Izakaya’s many specialties involve some good doses of alcohol. My Otokomae drink was a delicious mixture of sake, tequila, cointreau, cassis and orange juice, which the waiter kindly advise me to squeeze in the juicer and then proceed to pour onto my drink; therefore making it that much more fresh and delish.
Guu’s style is tapas inspired, so my party and I decided to share an array of dishes to truly enjoy the Guu state of mind; starting with the lovely Gyu Shabu Salad.
At first glance, I thought this salad was just OK looking given its lack of ingredients, not realizing that a salad, if made well, should taste good regardless. And this was certainly one dish Guu’s Chef knows how to make. This salad, on the first bite, immediately raised to the top next to Susur Lee’s famous slaw. Oh yes it did!
It was simple and fresh, with an explosion of flavour coming from both the shabu-shabu beef and the fantastic black sesame dressing. That combination of the dressing, with the beef, peppers and greens, was all it ever needed.
Next on the order was of course a sashimi dish, tuna to be exact; also known on the menu as Maguro Tataki.
The B.C tuna was incredibly fresh and tasty. This piece of fish had been lightly seared on what I bet where some oak and apple wood in the fire. I am not 100% on this, but this is what I tasted. Drizzled with Ponzu, a Japanese citrus-based sauce, and accompanied with garlic chips, this dish was one of my favourites at Guu Izakaya.
Staying on the fish food group, we followed with the Gindara.
Placed, and probably cooked on what looked like a banana leaf, was a black cod that is grilled and drizzled with miso and a white wine sauce, that melted like butter in my mouth. And if I may add, black cod is my favourite fish in the whole wide world, so my love for this dish is beyond words.
Lastly, and to put a nice and lovely end to our Guu culture experience, we had the famous Bibimbap.
We decided on the Kinoko style which came with rice, mushrooms and cheese in a seaweed sauce. The rice, once again, hit the spot like good Japanese places usually do. This rice was just as good as that of Yuzu’s, and the Bibimbap, meaning the whole dish, was better than my recently reviewed one at Seor Ak San. Seor’s is still good, but its a second contender to Guu.
And so I leave you with my Guu state of mind.
Until next time Foodies!
Dining Experience: Dinner
Venue: Guu Izakaya
Location: 398 Church Street, Toronto, ON
Menu items: Gyu Shabu Salad, Maguro Tataki, Gindara and Kinoko Bibimbap