The Guu Garden location of the delicious izakaya chain has been on my must visit list for a while now so last weekend i thought it would be a perfect time for a visit. The actual restaurant is nestled atop a plaza on Nelson street and not visible from the street. On ground level opposite the Japanese BBQ place is the restaurant sign with the fresh sheet for you to read and the stairs. Melissa was eating with me and she has also never been to this location so we both were pretty excited.
We arrived at the perfect time as only a few tables were occupied, the hostess hung our coats and presented us with warm towels-great service and way to start a meal! I had my eyes set on a bento from the fresh sheet but some other items also caught my eye from the menu. We had some tea to start, Melissa went with the house Genmaicha that she loves (and it’s also free) and I went with some Jasmine tea for $2.
For lunch Melissa went with the Assorted diced Sashimi Bowl or Box with a table top Assorted Oden ($13.80). With the assortment of fish and items in the bowl Melissa really enjoyed this. The oden was brought to the table immediately after ordering so it had time to cook, the pot had cabbage, daikon and mushroom in a umami rich broth.
Something that caught my eye was the Miso Calamari ($6 for a small order). The squid is “ume” marinated and then tossed in a black “haccho-miso” sauce. Biting into this the rich flavor of the miso sauce combined with the slight sweetness of the squid really put a smile on my face and the squid was cooked perfectly.
Of course I had to get a small Ebi Mayo ($9 for a small order) even though some came in my bento box. With the small order you get 6 ebi and a large is 12 pieces. At Guu Garden they serve the mayo and hot sauce unmixed (each Guu has their own presentation style) personally I would have liked the sauces mixed together to distribute the hot sauce more evenly. The ebi themselves were cooked beautifully with a nice crisp tempura batter on the outside.
When I saw the Izakaya Lunch Box ($15.80) on the menu I thought it was perfect. The thing that caught my eye about this lunch box was the assortment of items and Guu lunch boxes are always a great choice. The box included:
- Miso soup
- Chicken Karaage
- Ebi Mayo
- Cauliflower Karaage
- Green Bean Fries
- Tuna Tataki
- Saba Shima Sushi
- Bang Bang Salad
- Tako Wasabi
- Pickled Bamboo Shoots
I enjoyed almost everything, the fried items all were delicious and the salad was out of this world with its creamy sesame dressing but the sushi and tako wasabi didn’t work for me flavor wise. With the great assortment of items this ranks up there with one of the best lunch boxes I’ve ever had and it was a great way to try a bunch of different flavors.
After the craziness of the weeks leading up to the Christmas it was really nice to spend an hour relaxing eating some delicious Japanese food away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Downtown streets. If you’re looking for some well prepared Japanese dishes I would totally recommend Guu Garden or any of the other Guu locations.