Izakaya is a Japanese pub/tapas restaurant. Guu Izakaya was another one to try after our countless visits to Imadake, Montreal. The atmosphere was very lively in a Japanese sense: everyone working there greets you out loud – the staff, from waitress to cooks all at the same time! – when you walk in and out. Nice. That makes people super excited at the first step to enter Guu. We liked the wide open layout, tall ceiling, and brightness there: izakayas in Japan are usually kind of dark with dim light, except right over the food on the table – just like Imadake. Some of you might not like the communal seating setup at Guu. We were fine with it: meet new people sharing a huge table! :) There was also a counter to sit in front of the kitchen where a relatively young crew were busy working hard.
We ordered “Bamboo Sake” to start off: sake came in this little bamboo bottle, which imparted a nice exotic Asian feel to it ;)
Maguro tataki, lightly seared and sliced tuna placed onto a bed of daikon, topped with scallions. This was our favourite dish of the night. We fancy tuna. Haha.
Though looking nice in this picture, our Izakaya favorite choice, Gindara – cod fish fillet grilled and glazed with soy or miso – disappointed us. To simply put, it was not tasty :( Rather fishy probably because the fish itself was not fresh; the miso glaze also was way under our expectation for a simple miso glaze; the cod was overcooked. Meh.
Anything “deep-fried” is always a delish goodness in any Japanese eatery – I am under the impression that Japanese are great at deep-frying in general :D Guu’s deep-fried brie came with mango and blueberry sauce on the plate, which went well with the rich and creamy texture of melted warm brie inside the CRUNCHY batter. Mmmm.
If any Japanese izakaya messes up Karage, a deep-fried chicken thigh, it better shut down the business. LOL Karage at Guu was great! Actually the best – izakaya authenticity wise – among our orders that night.
Shabu salad was rather disappointing: black sesame dressing had just the black color. The deep rich flavour of roasted grounded black sesame was totally missing. Probably black sesame was store-bought in bad quality. The sauce – there are two sauces in it: black sesame and regular salad dressing – was believed to be the exactly SAME one that they used for Maguro Tataki. I could make this at home with greens and sliced bell peppers.. Want my money back!
Kakimayo – oyster Rockefeller: diced oysters mixed with “condensed” béchamel sauce, mayo (?), grated cheese, other miscellaneous, and then baked in the oven. So overcooked that it was hard to chew and greasy!! Where is the flavour…
Pumpkin Korokke or pumpkin croquette. It’s a big ball of pumpkin puree wrapped around a hard boiled egg; then the ball was deep-fried, served with unknown creamy dressing(sweet). The egg inside was dry and overcooked: its edge was dark grey. Each ingredient had its separate flavour respectively, not combined for one creative dish. Too bad. So we didn’t feel like ordering desserts here.
There are more than a few izakayas under the name, Guu, in Vancouver, of which some of them earn a tasty reputation. However, Guu Izakaya, Toronto, gets just average points for the dishes we tried – we’ll try other dishes later if a chance; Montrealers are proud of Imadake :D Yay~
398 Church Street