Monday, March 7, 2011


Guu Izakaya (398 Church Street - corner of Church and McGill, Toronto)
Hours of operation:
Mon-Sun 5:00 p.m. - midnight

Otokomae ($6.30): sake + tequila + Cointreau + lemon juice.
It had a small boozy taste, but it didn't have much else to it. There was too much ice in it for me to really get any of the Cointreau flavour. Or the tequila. I think if all the ice were removed, it'd amount to less than a shot of a drink. 

Kabocha korokke ($4.80): deep fried kabocha pumpkin croquette with a boiled egg inside.
Julie said that it tasted like salad dressing. I thought it was pretty standard tasting deep fried object with mayo combination. The pumpkin made it a bit interesting. But the warped plastic knife I pulled out of it was more interesting.

Kakimayo ($6.80): grilled oysters with spinach, garlic mayo and cheese.
I thought this was an exciting dish. The sauce went quite nicely together with the oysters. 

Kaki furai ($6.80): deep fried oyster with 3 kinds of sauce.
Takoyaki ($5.00): deep fried puffed octopus balls served with tonkatsu sauce and mustard mayo.
We were a bit confused as to what the sauce in the first square was, but I think the side of lemon was considered the sauce. I still don't know what the pink sauce was. This dish was a bit whatever for me. I prefer the grilled oysters. The flakes on the octopus balls were moving from heat when it was served to us which was mildly amusing. I thought the quality of the octopus was higher than what I've previously experienced from ordering takoyaki, but the other times were from random street stands. 

I'm actually not sure which bibimbap this was, but it had a mild heat to it, and there were noodles as well as rice in it. There was a small kick of heat to it, but it didn't have the nice crunchy sides stuck to the stone bowl. Or we didn't let it cook long enough in the bowl before hacking away at it. 

Gindara ($9.80): grilled black cod with saikyo miso and white wine.
This dish didn't look fancy at all. It looked a bit bare, actually. The fish was soft, and maybe about 20 seconds overcooked, but still edible. The skin was crispy though.

Okonomiyaki ($6.80): deep fried Japanese style pancake with tonkatsu sauce and mustard mayo.
 I'm not exactly sure what was in this, but it had a soft white interior that reminded me of Chinese white radish cake. As with many of the deep fried options, it was complemented with mayo and tonkatsu sauce that's sort of like Japanese barbecue sauce. 

I had to check this place out as most of the people I've spoken to have always raved about it. The atmosphere is set like a Japanese bar. It's very loud and the staff makes sure to greet everyone with a loud cheer as they walk in as well as when they walk out. The main area consists of wooden benches that you'd probably have to share with another party or two. Oh yeah, and we go there a bit after five only to have to wait in line outside since they didn't actually open until 5:30 p.m. Apparently the wait can be upwards of two hours during busy hours.

Most of the dishes we tried were deep fried, but I preferred some (grilled oysters) much more than others (deep fried oysters). 

Would I return? Probably. Enough of my friends are pretty infatuated with this place to want to go again. And I think I want to try some of the less deep fried options. Also, I tried a bit of Andrea's almond tofu dessert, and I was quite impressed. It had a very strong almond taste. It was like silky tofu dessert cooked in almond oil.

Total damage: $12-something per person (there were five of us). $20 for me since I ordered a drink.

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