What? Guu Sakabar
Where? 559 Bloor st. w (2 min walk from Bathurst station)
Price? $20-40/person (depends on hunger lvl)
The skinny: It’s not easy for a restaurant to live up to its hype, especially if they open multiple locations. Well, Guu has done just that and just keeps getting more and more popular. Come here for the infectious (loud) atmosphere, large mugs of Sapporo, and Japanese “tapas” w/ a twist!
This is my second time to this location (first visit here). I successfully lured my parents to grab late dinner here post-Backlit (here) as a way to thank them for being so supportive & helpful!
We were told there’d be a wait of anywhere from 15-45 mins. My first thought: “crap. Yeah my parents aren’t gonna like this.” But hold on! With what I’d like to call “power of positive thinking”, we got a table within 15 minutes!
Considering it was late evening (9:30ish), it came as no surprise that most of the items from the specials menu were sold out.
I ordered my favourite drink there! Sake mojito. Mmmmm. It was hilarious watching my mom struggle with the pop-top (don’t worry, we’re all fun and jokes). At least my dad got his “manliness” on and a mini ego boost when he successfully popped the glass marble in. ;) Remember, it’s all about the little things!!
“Sliced beef w/ Thai salsa on rice”. This was the one special that we ordered. I’ve had tongue in a couple of other preparations before (boiled in soup or in a sandwich) but not sliced over rice.
It definitely maintained a bit of its chewiness but being thinly sliced, it wasn’t hard to handle at all. Eaten with the Thai salsa, I really enjoyed it!
Maguro Tataki (6.8)
“seared B.C. tuna sashimi w/ ponzu & garlic chips”. I love fish! This was a pleasant dish, very smooth tuna. I was hoping for a more robust flavour from the searing though…
It’s so funny. My mom was about to start a conversation when my dad advised her against it: “you’re gonna lose your voice! Don’t even think about it!” So although they were really digging the food, this was only a mild win since the decibel level of the place was almost too much for them.
“pan fried pork intestine w/ sweet garlic soy sauce”. I’ve never tried pork intestine before! But after having met a pretty cool fella (@RaphyCappy) at Backlit who expressed a concerning love for the stuff, I decided to give this a try. Chewy texture, the sauce was what made the dish more than anything else.
Carbonara Udon (8.3)
“creamy udon noodles w/ bacon, onion & half boiled egg”. What can I say? My family is very traditional when it comes to meals so we always have our rice. This udon was our main starch source this meal. That half boiled egg’s just sitting there, waiting to be pierced!!
My mom did the honours of stirring it all up. I love how at Guu there are some interactive dishes. You get involved in the final step of the food prep! FUN! This udon was a huge hit! So creamy and bacony, my parents told me I should try recreating this dish at home. ;) (aka take out! I’m kidding, I’ll give it a go first).
Kabocha Korokke (4.8)
“deep fried kabocha pumpkin croquette w/ a boiled egg inside”. My parents, particularly my dad aren’t fond of pumpkin so I decided to order this haha. It’s actually kabocha pumpkin that’s used, which is a type of winter squash (so not your Jack-o-lantern variety of pumpkin).
This dish is a pretty popular dish at Guu. It’s like a play on a Scotch egg with kabocha pumpkin instead of sausage. The tangy/sour sauce gives this dish a bit of a kick that balances out the pumpkin’s mellow flavour.
“baked B.C. oyster w/ mushrooms, spinach & garlic mayo topped w/ cheese”. This is the no.1 most ordered item at Guu and a permanent menu item at both locations in Toronto. I order this every time I come. No doubt I was super stoked for my parents to tuck into this dish…that is until it finally came.
This is what it looked like, untouched. What had happened was that since the oyster shells were on an angle, all the cheese had melted, slid off and formed a burnt crust UNDER the shells. So sad. Wasted. :( There was almost NO cheese on either of the two oysters!!!
Almond Tofu (3.5)
“smoothest almond tofu”. Redemption dessert time! At this point, we were all at capacity so we went for a light dessert. This is seriously the smoothest almond tofu you’ll ever have! It’s a perfect dessert after a sauce-filled, rich meal. A must-try in my eyes.
The bill was very reasonable. We didn’t go overboard at all but were all satisfied by the end of the meal. I think it was partly because my parents and I were tasting the cupcakes I made for Backlit all day so our appetites weren’t that big.hehe.. ;)
|get your frozen grapes! 0.2 serving of fruit...jajaja|
Birthdays at Guu don’t go unnoticed. If you’re the birthday girl or boy, expect to be serenaded by the entire staff. They’re always so happy!!
|Typical Guu atmosphere = super happy and spirit-lifting!|
By the time we left, it was close to midnight. Service was definitely winding down, you can almost say the restaurant was calm? That is, until you leave and everyone joins in to say bye! :D They always make you feel so welcomed that you find yourself itching to back before you even step outside. Ken (@inyourmouthTO) mentioned snapping pics of the staff being happy...aka every minute that you're there haha
Verdict: I think it’s quite clear by my repeated visits to Guu that this restaurant is on my mucho-approved restaurant list. I have yet to try the entire menu (the daily specials always sidetrack me!) so there’s a never-ceasing excuse to come back! Also, surprise surprise my parents liked it a lot!! :D
Check ‘em out! http://guu-izakaya.com/sakabar/
5 out of 5 NOMs