Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach visited Guu’s new North York location for an exclusive first look.
Guu has completed their soft opening for their North York location, bringing their diverse and playful approach to Japanese cuisine and atmosphere to a pocket of town that could use exactly that.
For those keeping score, this would be Guu number three, in Toronto at least, as there’s six more from their West coast origins, as well one in Montreal. Calgarians can hold their collective breath though; Vice President (and rotating Head Chef) Masaru Ogasawara has no formal plans of setting up shop in Alberta (or Saskatchewan, or Manitoba, for that matter…). Guu is not merely restricted either to the Guu branch- owned by the Kinka Family (whose adorable creed is ‘Serving People Happiness’) who also own the popular family of Kinton Ramens and JaBistro.
Guu is known for their food, vibe, as well as keeping each location a little unique, and North York is certainly different from their other locations, this one is pretty large in comparison, and while still sticking with the warm shoji style walls and wooden tables and chairs, this one channels that theme outside as well, with their splendid south facing patio.
In keeping with tradition, this Guu also has a few menu items that aren’t available at their other locations, like the Buta Bara, $7.80. Pork belly gets the torch treatment here, with a generous dousing of their in house made ginger soy sauce, crowned with green onions for both presentation and bite.
Ditto for the Unagi Bibimbap ($11.30) which you won’t find at the downtown locations (but you can at their Montreal restaurant). One poke of the yolk and you’re ready to mix up this hot pot of barbequed eel, burdock and green onion.
The Maguro Tataki ($8.30) brings seared albacore tuna sashimi draped in zingy ponzu sauce and crispy garlic chips, and yes, more green onions. While maybe not the best first date share plate, it certainly is a creative turn sashimi into something so much more.
Gomaae ($4) is a popular favourite. Quick steamed spinach comes mounded into a big ball and is dressed in velvety black sesame sauce, and garnished with more toasted sesame seeds.
Bar wise, Guu stocks their own brand of sake, shochu, Umeshu, and mixed cocktails with a Japanese influence. On tap you’ll find Sapporo Beer and Ashai in cans. A few desserts, like Banana Tempura or Hojicha Brulee let things end on a sweet note.
The Guu brand runs a pretty tight ship, and this particular location is no different. Expect the same jovial shouting as you would the other locations, and no nonsense service that is swift and courteous.
Considering the accessible prices, let’s hope that the North York location doesn’t fall victim to the only negative thing that everyone can agree on about Guu, the lineups.
Are you excited to try the new Guu North York? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.