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Part of the 2009 Izakaya Crawl.

THIS IS A REVIEW:

We were totally pumped to start our izakaya crawl, so made a reservation at Guu with Garlic for 5:30pm, which is when they open, and arrived there at about 5:15pm, sitting outside on their wooden bench and contemplating their cell phone charm vending machines. As it turns out, the reservation was unnecessary. The place seats more than the entrance appears because there is an outdoor patio. Inside, there is the option to sit at a table, at the bar, or in a Japanese-style near the window.

Despite the name and the logo, Guu with Garlic does not use a lot of garlic. I didn't taste it in any dishes we ordered.



The energy was there right from the beginning, even when the place wasn't that full. Orders are shouted to the chefs working, and there's a lot of banter going on in Japanese between serving staff and chefs. I don't speak Japanese, but it seemed like a lot of call and response was going on, getting everyone revved up for the long night ahead. By the time we left it was full and there were people waiting outside, so if you're not getting there at opening, reservations are a good idea.



We started with drinks. I chose the Cherry Blossom ($6) for my froufrou girlie drink of the evening: peach schnapps, crushed strawberries, and ramune, a Japanese soda. The labels on the ramune are personalized for Guu, which was cute.



The Boyfriend and Ann (the friend) split 250ml of a certain kind of shochu for $25. Very tasty!



Our first dish of the evening: kurokke ($4), aka croquette! Mashed potato and chicken, deep fried, topped with worchestershire and bechamel sauces. We were all pretty hungry so this was a nice way to kick it off and soak up the alcohol hopefully.



Next up: one of the specials, scallop, prawn and squid yuzu ceviche ($7.20). A Japanese twist on the South American raw seafood favorite, this one was made with a Japanese citrus fruit for some East-West fusion. My favorite was the scallop.



The third dish in our initial order was tako wasabi ($3.50), which as the name suggests, is tiny pieces of octopus (tako) and wasabi mixed with soy sauce. This is one of Ann's favorite dishes, and although I didn't like raw tako at all the last time I had it, I liked it a lot this time. Maybe this octopus was fresher, or maybe it was the smaller slices, but the texture was a lot nicer.



We decided we wanted one more dish before we left, something that would really say "POSERS TO THE LEFT", lol. Ann and I kinda railroaded Gordon into compliance with us as we ordered nankotsu karaage ($4): fried chicken knees. Ahhhhh, night market food, I missed you! Yet this simple dish was taken to a level of elegance with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a dip into the salt and pepper. Mmmm.

That was the end of our visit to Guu with Garlic. With some food and booze in our tummies, we left for our next stop: Tapastree.

THIS IS A SUMMARY:
Name: Guu with Garlic
Location: 1698 Robson Street, Vancouver BC 604-685-8678
Prices: $3.50 to $10 per small plate. If you planned to eat until you were full, you'd spend at least $25 per person, is my guess. GwG is also open for lunch, where you can get a meal and a pint of beer for around $10, which is a steal.
Service: Friendly, enthusiastic and busy, busy, busy. This seems like a good place to mention that the music here was pretty fabulous too. Nothing wrong with classic rock.
Food: Tasty and served up to you quick. Putting liquor into ramune with fresh fruit is an inspired summer combination.
Recommended?: Yeah! I'd say get a reservation later in the evening, I bet it's really hopping then. Sitting at the bar looked like a lot of fun too.

Guu With Garlic on Urbanspoon
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