Guu Garden - DOV 2019

We visited Guu Garden as part of Dine Out Vancouver 2019. Their offering for the festival was not taken from their main menu but included unique items demonstrating their inclination towards  creativity in their kitchen. This is the fourth of the Guu brand izakayas that I have visited and I would not hesitate to recommend any of them especially because of the unique menu items. Located above the plaza at Nelson and Hornby, it is not hard to find but you do have to keep your eyes open for their sign at plaza level.
Guu Garden provides a bit of an oasis from downtown, in its unique location, complete with a deck for outside dining when the weather is cooperating. The staff were friendly and on the ball, despite the first day of the festival noon rush. Communication was a bit challenging at times but we worked it out. Their offering for DOV was 3 items off of a creative list of 9 plates to be shared for $25. Being the two of us, we chose six dishes at lunchtime and certainly did not leave hungry. We started with Karaage Quail With Matcha Milk Salt.
This was lovely and crispy on the outside while juicy and tender inside. Even this slight variation of the usual Karaage Chicken gives an idea of where we were going.
Next up was a couple of Chestnut and Kambucha Squash Korokke (with a hint of truffle). Crispy outside and surprisingly naturally sweet, the truffle was wasted on me although this was another winning dish.
We also enjoyed their vegan variation on Mapo Tofu. This came in a stone bowl which continued to simmer for a few minutes after arrival. Rich with barley, cashews, mushrooms and greens, it maintained its traditional spiciness which as usual had me breaking out in a slight sweat!
We ordered rice cooked in a clay-pot, Takakomi with mushrooms including dried porcinis. A nice little surprising step into fusion that I have not seen before. The crispy bits of rice that we look for were present but maybe could have used a little more time or heat. Still a nice dish! Next onto Duck Liver Confit with Wasabi Ponzu and Fuyu Persimmon Puree!
The rich duck liver was mild and tasty while the ponzu was a more dominating flavour. A little surprising texture wise was that the persimmon puree was frozen giving a crunch and chill where I was not expecting it! I might have preferred these 2 elements separately.
Finally, and perhaps our favourite of the meal was Sea Urchin Pate with Nori Garlic Toast! Luxurious and rich, the sea urchin was nicely spreadable but had its fresh strong flavour. Worth the price of admission all by itself. DOV is not for everyone nor is it always a smoking deal. This stop was a very good one for us though, as we got to sample a nice variety of tasty interesting dishes.
Guu Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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