Guu Garden Izakaya – Don’t be a 下戸.

It was a cold October night when May, Dennis, Rick, Sandra and others decided we should hit up Kingyo Izakaya for their ridiculous deal for $5 pitchers. Unfortunately, they were stupidly busy as it seemed everyone had the same idea, so Dennis suggested we go to Guu Garden.

Excellent, my first Guu visit.. ever!! It may seem a bit ridiculous, I’m Asian, I live in Vancouver, I write a food blog, but I’ve never been to a single Guu. Ever.

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Yes, there have been times I’ve tried to go to Guu Garlic and Guu Aberdeen, but both were thwarted by lineups and a desire for food now, not food later. No problem here, we were seated immediately and the first matter was acquiring some drinks.

I started off with a Russell Brewing Guuud! Ale [650ml 6.0% abv] ($8.5), and eventually moved onto a MEGA Sapporo ($9) to join the others. The Guuud! Ale was closer to an IPA than an Ale and wasn’t quite so “easy” to drink for some reason.

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Jeff and Caitlin came along as well, and since I had come straight from work, I was antsy to eat some real food and have some post work beers. Jeff & Caitlin ordered these, and I don’t recall eating either of let’s just look at the pictures. 

焼きうどん YAKI UDON – Pan fried udon noodles w/ beef, mushrooms, green onion and garlic, topped w/ sesame & dried seaweed. ($7.8)

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マグロのタタキ TUNA TATAKI – Lightly seared tuna sashimi on sliced onions, dressed w/ ponzu sauce, toped w/ scallion and garlic chips. ($6.5) 

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I had to order the カボチャコロッケ KABOCHA KOROKKE – Boiled egg inside a deep-fried pumpkin ball dressed w/aurora sauce. ($4) as I’ve seen numerous pictures and descriptions of this intriguing fried ball of squash and egg.

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The sauce is “aurora sauce”..which I have no idea what that truly means, but it tasted like Thousand Island sauce…without the relish bits. Eating it was a bit of an adventure, first starting off with the tangy mayo taste then a slight soggy crunch, then the mush of the kobacha, and then finally hard boiled egg. I would order this share as one’s a bit too much for myself.

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Another dish that is considered one of the classics of Guu and many izakaya’s in Vancouver is the 彼の海老マヨ HIS EBI MAYO – Deep-fried prawns served w/ chili-mayo w/ a hint of cilantro. ($7.8). Almost any variation of this is good, so long as the pranws are big, juicy, and the batter isn’t too thick and heavy.

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The 鳥カラアゲガーリックマヨ KARAAGE – Deep-fried chicken thigh served w/ garlic mayo. ($5.8) tasted very much like Ebisu’s version, searingly hot boneless and juicy.

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When the server came around for last call, I asked for these shooters – R-19 オイスターシーザー OYSTER CAESAR – 2 pieces of fresh oyster in miso and tomato caesar served in a shot glass. ($4) thinking it’d be something similar to the oyster shooters seen at Kimura Sushi. Um..sort of.

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I then finished the meal by nursing off my MEGA Sapporo with some 鳥ナンコツのカラアゲ NANKOTSU – Deep-fried chicken knee served w/ salt and pepper. ($4) to munch on. Cartilage! Every piece of the animal must be used for consumption so as not to waste, ya never know, something might taste good. I wonder who thought it’d be a good idea to do this way back when…

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I believe it is this singular meal that has opened my eyes (and mouth..?) as I no longer regard izakaya’s as some type of unachievable unattainable and expensive restaurant. Of course, they will be if you are dining singularly or in a pair, but in a group with good friends, it’s easy to cater to many different types of tastes.

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Guu Garden
M101-888 Nelson Street
Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2H2
(604) 899-0855
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Guu Garden on Urbanspoon

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