March 10, 2012

Revisit to Guu Sakabar

I'm always excited to eat at Guu! It's one of those restaurants that never disappoint me! I haven't eaten here since last summer, so reading week was the perfect time for a revisit.
Although it was a Thursday, the wait was longer than expected for our group of 6. The turnover was pretty high for smaller tables, but they closed off the zashiki room, where many of the larger tables are located. In the end, we had to wait 50 minutes for one of the communal tables.
From the daily special menu, I ordered a Gingerous Amanda ($6.50)- ginger flavoured sake, fresh ginger juice, plum wine, and maple syrup. I'm a huge fan of ginger, so naturally, this was perfect for me. The ginger wasn't overwhelming, and the cocktail was very refreshing. I'll definitely order this again if I see it on the menu in the future.
Also from the daily special menu, we had an order of shoga yaki ($5.80)- ginger and soy sauce marinated pork on sizzling plate. This was hot, comforting, and delicious! How can you go wrong with marinated meat on a sizzling plate? I'm convinced that anything served on a hot sizzling plate is 10 times more enticing.
Something that I haven't tried before on the regular menu was the hotate ($8.30)- baked Hokkaido scallop and mushrooms with garlic butter. It was, indeed, very garlicky, and didn't taste very Japanese.
Takoyaki ($5)- deep fried octopus balls with tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayo- are always a crowd favourite. Last time at the Sakabar, I had the takoyaki gratin, which I liked very much. These were definitely easier to share, but the flavours are pretty similar (save for the cheese in the gratin)
Tori kawa ($4.20) was another daily special - deep fried chicken skin with ponzu sauce, topped with shredded nori. Some of us had reservations that this might be too greasy, but the tartness from the ponzu sauce provided a good balance. I couldn't exactly taste the chicken skin itself, but the crispy, deep fried bits of goodness were absolutely delectable.
Ikapiri ($6.50) was an old favourite of mine- deep fried calamari with spicy ketchup and wasabi mayo. I'm always torn between ordering this and trying something new. The combination of spicy ketchup and wasabi mayo is incredibly delicious!
Salmon natto yukke ($8.80)- chopped salmon sashimi with seven friends (natto, takuan, shibazuke, wonton chips, garlic chips, scallions & raw egg yolk). I've had this before, and I did enjoy all the flavours incorporated together.
The DIY concept was fun and easy for sharing, and I really liked the crunch from the wonton chips. It was a nice departure from all that deep fried dishes that we've been having.
Kinoko bibimbap ($8.80) is a must-order! I've fallen in love with this version of the bibimbap ever since I had it at the Izakaya! The combination of rice, mushroom, cheese and seaweed sauce all mixed in sizzling stone bowl was simply irresistible. The aroma itself was just intoxicating! This is also one of the more filling dishes for those with a bigger appetite.
Another favourite was the okonomiyaki ($6.80) - deep fried Japanese pancake with squid, tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayo! I'm sad that I only got half a piece!
I've read many rave reviews about the cabonara udon ($8.30) - creamy udon noodles with bacon, onions, and half boiled egg, but I wasn't impressed when I tried it for the first time. For some reason, I liked it a lot more this time, though Julie thought it was really salty. Still not my favourite, but I would order it if I can share it amongst a large group.
I'm crazy for fried chicken, and Guu's karaage ($6.80) - deep fried soy sauce marinated chicken served with garlic mayo - was fabulous! Fried chicken may not be fancy, but when done right, it's like crack! It's no surprise that Guu's karaage made the list of Toronto's best joints for fried chicken on Toronto Life.
After all the food came, the guys still weren't full, so we ordered another bibimbap to fill them up!
Kaisen bibimbap ($9.80)- rice, assorted seafoods and vegetables with sweet soy sauce in sizzling stone bowl. It definitely wasn't as good as the cheesy one!
Of course, a meal is never complete without dessert! We decided to have a feast and order one of every option except for the ice cream, since we figured that we could get ice cream anywhere. In addition to the ones featured individually as follows, we also ordered goma zukushi ($5) sesame ice cream, sesame rice cake, and sesame cracker and almond tofu ($3.50). From experience, I knew that I didn't like the almond tofu, but everything else was fabulous!
The only dessert from the daily special menu was ringo ($4.80)- apple cinnamon roll with vanilla ice cream. Certainly  not a very Japanese dessert, but I loved it! It was reminiscent of a crispy apple strudel.
You could definitely taste the sake in the sake tiramisu ($5). I probably wouldn't want to eat the whole tiramisu in its entirety, as the sake would've been too overwhelming. But nevertheless, I thought it was absolutely delicious and a great spin on a traditional dessert. 
In contrast, one of the less creative dessert was the pudding ($3.50) - Guuu'd vanilla crème brûlée, but I loved it regardless. It was just as good as any crème brûlée that you would pay $10 or more for at pricier restaurants. I think I ate the most from this dessert because it was conveniently placed right in front of me.
I love my cheesecakes, but not necessarily flavoured ones. This roasted green tea cheese cake ($3.80) impressed me with its subtle yet complementary flavours. I can eat this every day!
I love that frozen grapes always accompany the bill, as if we haven't already stuffed ourselves with enough desserts. All in all, it was another wonderful meal at Guu! I highly recommend coming to Guu with a larger group because it allows you to try so many more dishes without breaking the bank! On a side note, I was quite sad to see that the rice burger that I loved is no longer on their menu. Hopefully, it'll make a reappearance sometime in the future.
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