Sherman's Food Adventures: G-Be Izakaya

G-Be Izakaya

For some time, it only looked as if EBO would be the only in-house restaurant at the Grand Villa Casino. Suddenly, not only has a high-end Chinese restaurant (Grand Dynasty) opened up, a few days later, G-Be Izakaya appears. Another venture from the Gyoza King Group, G-Be tries to capture the gambling crowd much like Grand Dynasty next door. In fact, they share common restrooms. Since the gambling crowd are predominantly Chinese, it is no wonder that their menu has significant Chinese influences. As usual, I convinced Pomegranate to join me on this food adventure. I promised him a real Izakaya
experience; however, after looking at the menu, I wasn't so sure. Mixed with familiar items were Chinese Dim Sum on their "Yumcha" order sheet. Uh... Isn't there a Dim Sum place right next to them already?

Whatever the case, I opted to skip most of the Dim Sum items since it was not really what we were here for. Starting with the something familiar, we got the Sockeye Salmon Tataki. Although the fish itself was quite fresh, the sear on the outside was not aesthetically pleasing and neither was the texture. It was as if the searing temperature was too low. We also added 2 slices of Hawaiian Red Tuna since our server recommended it. She said it was very nice and indeed it delivered. The texture exhibited freshness and it was naturally flavourful. Now, when I was looking at the menu, I was on the lookout for my favourite item - Ebi Mayo. An exhaustive search yielded something a bit different. We ended up with the Basil Mayo Crispy Shrimp. Coated with corn flakes, the shrimp were really crunchy. That in itself made this dish a winner. Add the nice basil mayo and this was definitely different; yet good at the same time.

Continuing with the theme of breakfast cereals used as a coating, we got the Goma Miso Crispy Chicken Karaage. We were thinking what would they use next? Lucky Charms? Uh... ew... Never mind. As for using Rice Crispies in this case, it was a success. Well, that was predictable. Anything with Rice Crispies works. Ignoring the fact that the Rice Crispies probably absorbed a tonne of oil, each piece was a delight to eat. Lightly crispy on the outside while tender and moist on the inside, it went well with the nutty and salty dip. For kicks, we went for some sushi rolls with the Triple Seafood arriving first. A combination of snow crab meat, scallop, avocado, sprouts wrapped in nori and topped with spicy salmon. It could be possibly the physical size of each piece in combination with the spicy sauce that resulted in everything getting a bit lost. I could barely distinguish each ingredient.
The same could be said about the Asia Spicy Roll as well. This consisted of tuna tempura, cucumber, burdock root, sprouts and avocado wrapped in soy paper topped with spicy tuna. I figured I would at least taste the burdock root; but not really. Again, the same sweet, spicy sauce dominated the roll. Let me make this clear though - the spicy sauce was actually quite nice and the ingredients were pretty good, it's just very one-dimensional. With all that in mind, I did like the texture of the rice. It was firm and chewy

Now for what was probably the most disappointing dish of the meal - the Tuna Tataki. For reasons unknown, each slice was unappetizingly thick and to compound the problem, the exterior was seared too much. Look at the picture. The fish is overcooked! It should be nearly rare. In this case, it was hard and not pleasing in texture at all. The flavours were okay I suppose; yet that couldn't save the dish. Probably one of the worst versions of Tuna Tataki I've ever had. Now if you remember my visit to Zakkushi, I had the infamous Bukkake Udon. Now this time around, I got to share a Bukkake Udon with Pomegranate... In fact, it was a Kamaage Shirasu Mentaiko on Bukkake Udon. What it really means is shirasu fish and spicy cod roe udon. As expected, the udon turned out to be quite fishy with the shirasu, cod roe and bonito. Personally, I didn't mind it much since I like that type of fishy flavour. Pomegranate really didn't care for it. Hence, he only had a partial Bukkake and he didn't even clean it up.

For our last dish, we chose something that we thought were Japanese gyozas. However, if you look at the picture, they are definitely more like Chinese dumplings. Listed as Steamed Pork Gyozas with Seafood, we really didn't expect the final product. Nothing particularly wrong with the dumplings themselves. The filling was good while the skin was the right thickness and texture. A pretty good "choy yok gau". It's just not a gyoza in the typical sense, although "gyoza" in Cantonese does means dumpling. Okay, I hate to say it... But my beloved Gyoza King has produced a restaurant that I was very "meh" about. The food in general was pretty average with a few exceptions. We both loved the decor and the service. However, we believe that the combination of Dim Sum and Izakaya is too much of a stretch, especially with Grand Dynasty right next door. If one wanted Dim Sum, go eat over there. G-Be should focus on Izakaya-dishes only and even with that, there needs to be some serious refining as well.

The Good:
- Attractive decor
- Excellent service
- Okay pricing

The Bad:
- Execution issues with some items
- Please don't mix Dim Sum and Izakaya together

G-Be Izakaya on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

Well, considering it is Burnaby and there ain't much options in the area, should we give them a bit of leeway? Other than that, I think you should have sent the tataki back.

Sherman said...

Yes, there is not much competition nearby, but... The food wasn't that impressive period. And when the tataki is better at Cactus Club nearby, there is a serious problem considering this is an Izakaya.

LotusRapper said...

I think the ultimate victims here are/will be the casino/hotel patrons, given Grand Dynasty and G-Be's locational advantage !

Sherman said...

Yah LR, it's too bad really. I was really disappointed at the food.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Sherman! It's very easy to just say you are a certain type of food i.e. e.g here IZAKAYA type has to be more discerning to really tell or consumers are just there for dishing out money to people laughing behind the till.

Anonymous said...

ditto with your last comment..i was at this "so-called" izakaya and half way through service i am really lost as to what i am being presented/served...comon!! cereals on the coating? thats too much! Restaurant owners need to really respect their customers and also the food they serve! Lets have some honest to good QUALITY here!
Thanks Serman for your observations!

Sherman said...

Yah, the stuff is indeed strange and not something I've seen before. I give them kudos for trying and some are decent; but most are not.

Daily Slif said...

D*mn and here I got my hopes up of an izakaya right by my house...

Thank you Sherman once again for saving us all from a fate worse than death - mediocre food :-)

La Petite Vancouver said...

Can't agree more with the dim sum part