Guu is an ever growing izakaya empire because there are now six Guus around Vancouver (Thurlow, Nelson, Robson, Denman, Gastown, and Richmond), two in Toronto, and even one in China!
Gastown’s Guu With Otokomae was the second Guu location that we tried, and the first was actually Guu’s original location on Thurlow. (We’ve since visited their Robson location as well. Post is coming soon). Not as deafeningly-loud as it’s sibling establishment on Thurlow, this Guu is a multilevel restaurant so sound seems to dissipate easier. It’s also more spread out and I feel it’s more of a relaxing dining experience, but still lots of high energy, music and boisterous staff comparable to quintessential Guus. Service was casual yet prompt and because we got there right when the restaurant opened, so thankfully, we weren’t required to wait in line for a table.
A friend raved about Guu With Otokomae’s alcoholic drinks, so I just had to try a couple to see what all the fuss was about: Lulu Melon ($5.50) – A Guu With Otokomae classic, this drink had honeydew melon balls, vodka, and sweet guava juice. Pink Pearl Jump ($5.50) – Pictured below and one of their ‘jump around cocktails’, this beverage consisted of pomegranate liqueur, Malibu rum, Ramune (Japanese carbonated soft drink), and lychee ice balls.
Although both of these drinks were good, I did prefer the Pink Pearl Jump as it was more flavourful than the Lulu Melon. These were also very weak drinks because I could not taste the alcohol in either of them. They’re excellent girly drinks! Japanese Fries ($5.40) – Lightly battered, deep-fried yam sticks, served with a honey mayo dip. Hot and crispy, thick pieces of perfectly cooked yam, these fries were delicious.
Takoyaki ($4.80) – Deep-fried battered ocotpus balls (photo on the left) indressed with tonkatsu sauce, wasabi mayo and mustard mayo. Topped with dried bonito flakes and dried seawee. Guu’s Yakiudon ($7.50) – Guu’s original pan-fried udon noodles (pictured right) with beef, green onions and mushrooms topped with dried bonifot flakes and dried seaweed.
Salmon With 7 Friends ($7.90) – Diced wild sockeye salmon with Otokomae’s miso and garlic sauce, natto (fermented soy bean), pickled cucumber pickled daikon, garlic chips, crispy wonton, green onions, diced cucumber, and fresh raw egg yolk. Served with roasted seaweed, the dish is to be mixed together at the table by the server, and then we wrapped the concoction in seaweed sheets.
Overall, Guu With Otokomae offers tasty Japanese tapas at standard Vancouver izakaya prices. Like all popular Guu locations, be prepared to wait in line, especially on weekend evenings.