Oh Vancouver - why are you filled with such delectable eats? I feel like almost everywhere I went was a five-star in my book. Anywho, I'm sure anyone walking down Robson would be hard-pressed to not find an eatery to fit their fancy. We came upon Kitanyoa Guu with Garlic while not hungry one night so made a mental note to drop by the next, before it got busy. When we got there, the inside was jam-packed but they were ready to seat us outside if we were brave enough. Challenge accepted - we took on the cold in as manly a manner as possible. Conveniently, our waiter also offered us each a thick, IKEA blanket in case we wanted extra padding. To also warm us up, we ordered hot tea and bowls of Egg Oden, just the right amount of broth and eggy goodness to keep a body from freezing.
I had been drawn to the izakaya when I had peered at the outside menu and saw Smoked Salmon Carpaccio (sockeye salmon, green onion, red onion). Uh, yes please! It sounded like heaven, and once we got it, tasted like it too. The barely thick pieces of smooth smoked salmon melted in our mouths, complemented by the slight crunch of fresh, thinly sliced red onion and crackle of roughly chopped garlic chips. Next before our wide eyes was the plate of Okonomiyaki (deep fried squid & cabbage pancake with tonkatsu sauce & mustard mayo) which came out dancing with bonito flakes and buried beneath ample dried seaweed. The texture was lovely but for one of our group, the sauces overbearing.
It doesn't seem like I can avoid Karaage (deep fried chicken with garlic mayo on the side) whenever I go out to a Japanese place. Something base inside of us must make us order a plate - is it the child inside hearkening back to the old thoughts of chicken nuggets? This time, are we just asking for a more sophisticated touch to the childhood favorite? Perhaps. Perhaps it shouldn't matter when there is deliciously fried chicken in your mouth. The aioli was thick but the chicken barely needed it; a touch of lemon did it justice enough. Then there was the Tuna Tataki (lightly seared tuna sashimi with green onion, garlic chips, & ponzu sauce on the side), perfectly sliced into morsels ready to have green onion and garlic chips laid upon them. It was delicate and almost creamy in its center (in a good way!). I enjoyed the little touches of pepper sketched along the perimeter of each slice. We also enjoyed a good ol' plate of Beef Tongue (grilled beef tongue with garlic butter soy sauce and garlic chips), cooked to just the right texture of not-too-tough and not-too-soft. The sauce added the extra oomph needed to convince someone that hey, it IS okay to eat a cow's tongue and no, it does not count as morbid French kissing. Overall, loved the evening's meal at this welcoming izakaya - I must come back!