Guu Richmond

My friends and I went to Guu Richmond for lunch last week. I’ve written about Guu Richmond before here, from last time when my mom and I went for dinner. To be honest, I debated for a long time whether or not I should actually write about this particular experience on my food blog but my friend, Nicole, was insistent that I do. I really, really like Guu, especially because I’m obsessed with izakaya. I ended up deciding that I will write this though. Part of me feels bad and wrong about doing so but part of me feels that I’m completely entitled to. This is my food blog, uncensored and unedited. I noticed some bloggers only write “please the management” posts but what’s the point of blogging if you’re limiting your readers to only the positive posts? Anyway, I’m just going to write this post now. You can form your own opinions about this as you like but it is what it is.

Guu is located on the second floor of Aberdeen. It’s located behind Northern Dynasty, which has recently been closed apparently. Guu is a well known Japanese izakaya group in Vancouver and even has one location out in Toronto.

Dom and I arrived first so we had some time to look over the menu before our other friends arrived. Guu has a lunch menu, which is different than the dinner menu. There are some dinner menu dishes available at lunch as well, but it is limited. They also offer a daily lunch special, which changes depending on the day of the week. I actually prefer their dinner menu as it boasts more izakaya-style dishes, while the lunch menu has more lunch boxes like an atypical Japanese restaurant. However, it’s good to note that the lunch sets are very good bang for your buck so there’s always that.

Guu is guuu’d and Guuing may be addictive chopstick wrappers. So cute.

Our tea cups had a chart depicting when which fish were in season. Also very cute.

We arrived a little after 1pm and it was quite busy! Compared to the last time when my mom and I came for dinner (completely dead with maybe two or three parties other than us), it actually sounded like an izakaya! Before the last guest of my table arrived, a server came up at least three times asking whether we were ready to order. On three different occasions, we explained to her that we were still waiting for one more person. It’s confusing to me why she would come up to our table again five minutes later if our last guest had still not arrived. It was busy but it wasn’t as if all the tables were filled and there were people waiting at the door. There was no need to rush our order! So we weren’t sure if the service was rude or just super on the ball. We decided to give them the benefit of the doubt…

Nicole and I started off with a Takoyaki ($4.50) to share. As soon as it arrived, we were disappointed to see it lacking in garnishes as there were neither very many bonito flakes nor any other type of decorative topping. However, the taste of each takoyaki was very crunchy and it was quite well done. It was good takoyaki, especially considering the price although it was five pieces rather than six. At the moment, we might have been hungry so we were easy to forgive but now that I think back, I’ve definitely had takoyaki at Guu (but perhaps a different location) before and they definitely did not look as pathetic as these did. What the heck are these? Did they run out of bonito flakes or something? I wouldn’t send these out of a kitchen. They look embarrassing.

For myself, I ordered Chirashi ($8.80)Assorted sashimi on sushi rice. With the chirashi, comes a miso soup and a small dish complimentary. Fiona ordered this as well. I debated for a long time whether I should get chirashi or kimchi udon. I knew that Guu, primarily as an izakaya, would probably not have the best sashimi in town. But it was such a hot afternoon and I wanted so badly to have sushi. I also knew I had plans to go to Ajisai with my mom later that evening but of course, I went against my better judgment and ordered this anyway. My chirashi came with two pieces of tuna, one piece of salmon, one piece boiled shrimp, two pieces of tamago, one piece of scallop and some masago. The first piece of tuna I had was still halfway frozen! It was definitely not pleasant to begin my meal biting into a ice block. Based on the physical appearance of both the salmon and the tuna, I would say that they are both definitely not wild. I really try my best to avoid farmed fish. I guess I should have known that farmed fish is a definite with a chirashi at $8.80. Both Fiona and I found our rice to be very warm but we both thought it was okay still. The tamago was definitely my favourite. They make it very well here. My entire bowl was kinda warm and unappetizing, especially after the whole Nicole incident, which you will find out about as you continue reading…

Dom enjoyed a Katsu Curry Rice ($9.00)Japanese style beef curry and deep-fried panko breaded pork loin with rice. It is also served with a miso soup and a salad. The katsu was very good! Very crispy yet not heavily battered. Dom would have preferred the curry sauce on the side, but he forgot to request it. The curry is actually really good as well. I usually dislike Japanese curry but the bite Dom let me try was actually decent! He liked this dish.

Nicole ordered the Friday Daily Lunch Special which was Beef Bowl Set ($10.80)Beef bowl, mini salad, half udon noodles, miso soup. This is such a great deal! All of that for ten bucks? Definitely a really good deal. The beef bowl itself was big enough to cost $10.80 alone. The udon was average, typical udon but it was a pleasant surprise to find chicken in it! Nicole really, really liked the salad. The dressing was delicious, both fresh and tasty. It reminded me of the delicious salad I had at Hapa Izakaya here. She said the salad was her favourite part of the meal. Unfortunately, halfway through our meals, Nicole shrieked because…

There was a disgustingly plump cabbage worm in her salad, clinging on really tightly to that onion there. Initially, it made me question whether they even wash their greens at all because it was huge! Now you have to know this about me, I’m a very, very reasonable customer. I often find hairs, dead fruit flies, questionable black specks in my food and I will eat without a complaint. Hey, everyone has hair and how can you really expect chefs to control the dispersion of fruit fly corpses? It was an accident and I am forgiving. But with this, it was a little much, even by my standards. This has never happened to me, or even to someone at my table before. To have such a meaty and thick worm in my food is unacceptable. It’s not sanitary and definitely very unappetizing. Nicole was so shocked and disgusted that she both didn’t know how and didn’t want to eat anymore of her meal. Neither did any of the rest of us, to be honest. We flagged down a server and she quickly apologized and immediately brought Nicole a new salad. Nicole obviously didn’t want anymore salad so we sent it back. Part of me feels like I’m being too harsh on them. The bright side is that means these leaves were organic! Worm do have quite sticky feet don’t they? So it’s quite understandable how a worm could have stuck onto the leaves through the washing process. I’m not writing about this because of the worm. I think it’s at least understand how the worm made its way  to our lunch table. I’m writing about this because of the lack of service we got, considering what happened. The server did apologize initially but the way she apologized was as if it was something completely normal, as if it was something that happened regularly. Dom compared it to as if she simply brought us the wrong dish. I was confused because I had thought she didn’t actually see the worm. Then when our bill came, they were no compensations at all. Nicole felt that it was completely unfair they expected her to pay, considering what happened and that she barely ate half of her meal as she stopped eating after the incident. She spoke up and said that she didn’t feel that she should pay for her meal. One server said that he would fix it for us but he was very unfriendly about it. There was no apologies after the initial one. I think part of it has to do with the language barrier as they all only limited English. I don’t know. It was all such a horrible experience and a very, very bad lunch. I think Dom was the only one who enjoyed his lunch that day.

I don’t think I will return to Guu for a while.

Thanks for eating with me, I think…

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8 thoughts on “Guu Richmond

  1. Omg! I am totally understandable about hair or even random plastic things which has happened in my soup before, but the worm is so creepy. I think it happens though cause I’ve bought prewashed spinach and baby argula mixes from Costco before, and as I’m about to eat, I saw a huge grasshopper! I lost my appetite after that. But for a restaurant, I’m surprised they didn’t take it off the bill.

    • I didn’t want to write this post because I love Guu! I agree with you that I think I can understand how it happens. Cabbage worms probably have sticky feet right and this little bugger probably stuck on really hard to a leaf or something. I’d be more understandable if this was my prewashed bag of greens from Costco because even though it is “prewashed”, I’d still always wash it. But this was at a restaurant. And with better service, I probably would’ve forgotten it all. But they didn’t take it off the bill without us having to ask. I was thinking that if it were a Western restaurant, they would have been throwing free desserts, gift cards and the such at us and apologizing profusely as we walked out the door…

  2. I think I would’ve threw up right in the restaurant if I found that worm in my salad! Even though the right thing was to comp your friend’s meal, I’m not surprised that they didn’t…

    • I know exactly what you mean. I wasn’t expecting them to either. But my friend really felt like she shouldn’t have to pay and I didn’t either. I think if it was me though, I would have been to shy to ask.

  3. Oh no!!! I love Guu – it’s one of my go to restaurants when I’m homesick for Japanese Izakaya!!! I always go to that location, too! The takoyaki there is so yummy, but it’s true – yours looked really sad. And the fat worm??? I don’t know what to say…..I’ll still go to Guu, but I will inspect my greens before eating!!!

    • I love Guu too! I’ll still go too but maybe in a little while from now. Every restaurant has these incidents once in a while right? No one is perfect and they definitely didn’t do it on purpose.

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