Vancouver Report - CA hounds' attempt to eat the city Pt. II
- PolarBear Jul 29, 2006 12:59 AM
Part II: Dining reviews of:
Simba's (Denman St.)
Guu w/Garlic (2nd visit)
w/ stops at Granville Island & Lonsdale Quay
After the previous day of celebrating (July 1, Canada Day), wishing everyone we met "Happy Birthday", and stuffing ourselves at West, one would think a little restraint in caloric intake might be in order, au contraire. Instead, we reasoned that doing a lot of walking would allow us to keep up the culinary pace.
Sunday AM finished off the remainder of the bagels from Bo Jangles and a few hours later took the water taxi from the foot of the Burrard Bridge over to Granville Island, then hoofed it over to Go Fish in the marina at the base of 1st St.
The fish & chips had been recommended (and the generous portions looked terrific) but waiting in line gave us time to go over the menu and change our minds. I couldn't pass up the Emperor Scallop burger w/lime mayo & crispy onion rings. Absolutely divine, Lady PB chose the Chargrill Albacore burger w/sweet chile ponzu, tomato snakebite salsa & wasabi mayo, a deft hand with the spices kept the heat level toned down allowing the fresh fish to shine. These two items would have been plenty, but we just couldn't leave with trying one of their Tacones, a grilled salmon taco w/cilantro spiked salsa, chipotle crema and slaw. Fresh, perfectly cooked, we were so glad we didn't pass it up.
Go Fish, 1505 1st St.
Walked back under the bridge and into the Marketplace on Granville Island. The produce looked fantastic, but what really made us drool were the fresh Halibut cheeks, looked so good we halfway contemplated scrubbing our dinner plans for one of our nights and cooking back at the apartment. Lady PB picked up some various pastries and chocolate and I left with a half dozen of Siegel's assorted bagels (excellent).
Water taxied back to Burrard St. walked along English Bay back to Denman, checking menus along the way, almost made the turn back to our place when we spotted Simba's, billed as East African Fusion cuisine. A once over of the eclectic menu told us this was a must-try.
Returned that evening without a reservation, but were seated by the owner/host Simba, aka Kurshid Khan, within a few minutes. Simba is a giant of a man who floats among the tables making sure his guests are well taken care of. We shared one of the specials, Red Snapper in Coconut Red Curry, and the Deep Fried Whole Cornish Game Hen in Pili Pili (Piri Piri) sauce. Great depth of flavors with everything well prepared. Buttered naan accompanied by a variety of condiments, fresh grated coconut with lavender, yogurt, Tamarind sauce, and Simba sauce (cayenne, lemon, and a few other ingredients) was a perfect match for the entrees.
For dessert, picked up a couple of Nanaimo Bars from Bo Jangles.
Simba’s, 825 Denman, 604-974-0649
Monday morning enjoyed a Siegel’s bagel and cream cheese, then headed out for Gastown. On the way down Robson stopped at Café Crepe and we split one of their Parisian Dogs, over a foot long on great bread with melted cheese. Dressed simply with a little mustard, it was pretty tasty.
Café Crepe, 1032 Robson
After a stroll up and down through Gastown, walked back up near Canada Place and took the ferry over to Lonsdale Quay Market. Again found beautiful mounds of fresh looking Halibut cheeks. After wanding through the market we picked up a shrimp and crab empanada, and an oyster toast, with sort of a hollandaise sauce to share before heading back.
We hadn’t made any plans for dinner that evening, both tired from a day of walking around, we heard Guu calling us, hey, it was only a block away.
Walked up with no reservation, but were seated within ten minutes or so. Again ended up in great conversation with the couples seated at the bar on both sides. We ordered a few favorites from our first visit, Ebi-Mayo, Tuna Tataki, and the Chicken Wings (all described in Pt. I), but decided to expand our horizons by adding Kabocha-Korokke, a boiled egg inside a deep fried pumpkin ball dressed with a house sauce (3.60), strange sounding but came together well especially with the great sauce. Also ordered the Umi-Shiso-Udon, pan fried noodles with plum, beef, green onions, mushrooms, and perilla (an annual Asian plant of the mint family with russet-purple leaves) topped with sesame seeds and dried seaweed (7.50), again great combination of flavors. We topped it all off by sharing the Almond tofu, not to be missed! I had about three glasses of a decent BC white wine, and for $43 CD, pre t/t, we left guud and stuffed.
Should also mention we met the very personable, young manager, Daisuke Gomyo, who was very interested in how we found out and knew so much about Guu. After explaining about Chowhound, he provided me with copies of all there food and drink menus. I asked about the other locations, wondering why this one is the hands down favorite. He said that come the weekend, he would be spending time at the Gastown location trying to bring it up to the same level. We parted saying we’ll see you again before we leave.
Back to Pt. I
Fwd to Pt. III
On your Guu review - Glad you enjoy it.Daisuke Gomyo is the best! He takes great care of the regulars at Guu.
All the locations are great - just depends on the atmosphere and food likes. The Gas Town location is slowly getting busier & busier (mainly on weekends) It is a great place to go for a quiter dinner as the place is much bigger and on 2 levels. It is just as clean / modern as the Garlic location and the service is great.
The first Guu location (on Thurlow) is also just as busy as Garlic, however it is very old, run down, dirty and the service is not so good - infact very bad. However, if you can get around all of that the food is just as good and they are also open for lunch which is great as the menu is very different from the dinner menu.
Thanks for the added details on the two other locations, JWh. We didn't see much else in Gastown that looking exciting food wise, will put this on our list for next visit. Is the dinner menu in Gastown and on Thurlow the same or similar to w/Garlic? If different, what dishes stand out at each?
We would have tried the Thurlow location for lunch if we'd have known, we'll gladly put up with no atmosphere and poor service for good chow. What about the lunch menu, any standouts that shouldn't be missed? Thanks again.
Guu Thurlow Lunch: everything on the menu is uncer $10 and the portions are large! Some highlight are:
-Grilled Mackeral. Be sure to order the Saba (unless you linke Pike Mackeral = 2 skinny fish grilled head and all) This dish comes with a side of steamed rice and salad.
-Beef Curry - if you are really hungry order the Katsu Curry. Both come served with rice and salad
-Chicken Don served over rice - has the best pan fried onions and vegetables served ontop
Guu Thurlow Dinner - has a different menu then the other 2 locations (a few similar items, but not exactly the same) Haven't been here for dinner in ages but from memory some highlights are:
-kimichi fried rice (amazing)
-Tofu / mushroom salad
-Negi Toro (only if the tuna is fresh that day)
Guu Gas Town dinner highlights are:
-Beef / Vegetable Kabob
-Grilled Japanese Weinners (served with hot mustard)
-Negi Toro - always fresh here and oh so yummy
-Yellow Tuna Sashimi
-Grilled Rice Ball (yaki onigiri - my fav)
-Pickles of the day - go great with beer and make a great snack while waiting for the rest of your food.
I am sure I am missing some highlights, but these will get you started. Enjoy!
Note - Lunch is served Tuesday - Saturday at Thurlow Guu from 11:45-1:45 (last call around 1:30 unless they run out of food earlier)