Guu stimulates all of the senses as soon as you enter this exciting izakaya eatery just off Robson Street in downtown Vancouver. Izakayas serve Japanese 'Tapas' - an array of appetizer-sized dishes ranging in tastes from the largely familiar to extrodinary.
First you experience the sound - well, noise really. Shouted greetings and farewells from the wait staff are accompanied by the loud open kitchen and announcements of each dish ready for service. The smell of grilling fish and frying penko greets you as you sit at the communal bar and watch the flaming pans, diving sauces, and skillful cuts. Sashimi, takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls) and karaage (fried chicken) highlight the more traditional Japanese tastes. Oden is also there, a stewed soup with daikon, tofu, fish, or other specialties added to your own taste. Daily specials bring out Guu's adventurous side. Our last visit included a crunchy panfried taro with scrambled eggs in bbq sauce, sweet and tangy ground pork with eggplant, and the slippery texture of raw firefly squid.
Guu attracts a wide range of customers - with a heavy dose of local and tourist Japanese. Others can take a course or two to adjust to it all - like a couple from Atlanta we met who paid more attention to those around them than the printed menu. Come in to snack on a couple of dishes between stops or let loose on the menu for a full meal. It gets crowded, so go early or prepare to wait.
In any case, set your palate to "open" and enjoy!