My mom and I paid an unintentional visit to Guu’s Richmond location for a quick Sunday late night dinner. Guu Richmond is one of five locations of Guu Izakaya, a great izakaya chain with four other locations in the Vancouver area: Guu Original, Guu with Garlic, Guu Garden, and Guu Otokomae. Previously, I’ve tried Guu with Garlic on Robson. I have recently been obsessed with Japanese izakaya! It’s a great alternative to other styles of Japanese cuisine like sushi. Guu’s website outlines the concept of izakaya a little bit:
Back in the Edo period (1600-1900), Sakaya (liquor shop) began serving alcohol and providing a place to stay and drinking. (There is another supposition that soba ya, buckwheat noodle shop, began serving alcohol with their food including otsumami.) During this period, the number of single men is a lot higher than women, izakaya became a popular place and spread into the society easily as a casual dining space to share not only drink and food, but also their life stories. Compare to pub or bar, the food is more substantial and accompany to drinks.
Guu in Richmond is located on the second floor of Aberdeen Centre. It’s tucked away in the corner so you’d really have to look for it to find it. It’s behind Northern Delicacy. I literally had no idea where Guu was because I had never seen it before!
The restaurant was practically empty, only serving a couple of tables. We were immediately seated and provided with steamed towelettes. I remember a similar service at Guu with Garlic. Here is my mother completely ignoring me as she plays Candy Crush on her iPad. It’s my fault, I introduced her to it.
The restaurant is not too large but it isn’t small either. In the centre is the sushi bar. I didn’t look clearly but there might be one or two private tatami rooms at the back of the restaurant. The washrooms were located outside of the restaurant, in the mall. The ambiance was nice, except for the servers who, customary to izakaya tradition, yelled orders across the room. My mom thought it was too loud. I enjoy it but I thought it was kind of awkward, considering the restaurant was mostly empty. In a busy izakaya, I think it’s completely acceptable.
Immediately after ordering, we were served a complimentary appetizer, a tsukidashi. It was a potato and carrot salad mixed in mayo. It was a nice appetizer snack and my mom really liked it. The potatos and carrots were well done so they were easy to eat. Mixed in with the mayo, it became the perfect combination for a soft, tasty snack.
We ordered Tuna Tataki ($7.80), Seared tuna w/ ponzu sauce. Upon serving, I regretted ordering this. The presentation is very nice and playful, with the bright, summery colours of the greens, yellow and orange popping out on the white dish but the tuna looks dry. There were five pieces of tuna and they actually tasted very good, pairing very well with the ponzu. I would not order this again, however. I was a little frantic when ordering, I have to admit. My mom would not give me any input as she was completely focused on Candy Crush! I was prepared to eat at Takeya Sushi so I was completely thrown off guard. I don’t know if any of you guys do this but I like to decide what I’m ordering at a restaurant before I even get to the restaurant!
We tried Kabocha Korokke ($4.00), Pumpkin & boiled egg croquette as recommended by our server. Right off the bat, we loved the presentation. It was a gorgeous golden crusted ball, topped with bright green hued leaves to resemble a pumpkin, accented with Guu written in mayo. The dressing I suspect is Thousand Island dressing mixed with mayo. It was very delicious with the deep fried kabocha squash.
Here is a cross section of it. Inside is a whole hard boiled egg. The kabocha squash is molded around the hard boiled egg and then thrown in the deep fryer where it turns a crunchy golden brown while the soft squash stays creamy and tender. So good! We loved this one.
I wanted to try deepfried udon so I ordered Deepfried Udon Noodle ($5.80), Cabbage, egg, pork cha shu, green onion, ginger in sweet soy sauce soup off the Daily Special menu. What a mistake that was! This was such a disappointment. The pickled ginger was too overpowering and kind of ruined the sweet soy sauce soup. Further, the deepfried udon was no longer “deepfried” after sitting in the soup for so long. It was soggy and hard, becoming difficult to chew if anything. However, the cha shu, was absoutely delicious and there were about 3 pieces but I wish there were more! It was soft and tender, much better than many ramen shops make it! Overall, this dish could be quite good if the deepfried udon was served separately from the soup.
Last but not least, Kimchi Udon ($8.50), Udon w/ spicy cod roe, soy sauce, butter, kimchi & green onion. This deliciously buttery udon was probably the best dish of the night! The creamy buttery taste combined with the spicy cod roe with soy sauce proved to be a very flavourful and tasty mix. The very thinly cut seaweed also helped the spicy coe roe create more of a seafood flavour. We absolutely loved this one!
The damage was about $30 after tips for the two of us. It would have been more with HST, but luckily that’s gone now! $30 for dinner for two isn’t bad once in a while but we weren’t really even very hungry that night! I can’t imagine how much it would cost to get full here on an empty stomach. Izakaya can be quite pricy so if you’re on a budget, you’d better watch what you’re ordering. Especially when you’re ordering a second round or even more. We were very satisfied with our dinner and will be back. Next time, I’d love to try Tori Nankotsu, Bibmbap and Hotate Carpaccio. However, I really should try to stop eating out so frequently since we’re planning a big trip next month and I should really save some money. When I filed (or attempted to before I gave up and asked my accountant mom to do it) my tax return this year, it made me wonder where all the money I made last year go. So where did all the money I made last year go? Eating out.
Thanks for eating with me!