Restaurant: Gyo-O Japanese Restaurant
Location: #2137-3779 Sexsmith Road, Richmond, BC
Cuisine: Japanese/Donburi/Noodle Shop
Just the regular flavored Takoyaki, although much better made than any you’d find at the night market. Alot of times when you bite into a Takoyaki it breaks apart because the outer skin is quite soft, but Gyo-O creates a sort of crisp glazed skin. The texture is much more enjoyable and adds a distinct flavor as it seems to be infused with the Takoyaki Sauce rather than the simple drizzle on top.
The unique thing about Gyo-O, in terms of Takoyaki, is that they offer different flavors. I couldn’t completely taste a difference between this one and the original flavor except the addition of spring onions. However, it was still made with that crisp cooking and preserved a creamy inside. Also, this version of Takoyaki was plated alot nicer than the original!
The highlight of this simple Prawn Tempura would be the seasoning powder. I usually like the Tempura sauce that is assumed to come with Tempura, but it really does affect the crispiness of the batter (although in a way makes it less greasy). The powdered seasoning that Gyo-O serves up is a refreshing change with an excellent mix of spices! You can really enjoy the crisp batter coating the prawn, which was fresh and juicy.
I’ve actually never had Unagi Tempura before, but this made me a fan! The Unagi was very tender and juicy, while further complimented by the side sauces (Tartar Sauce, Spicy Sauce, and Light Teriyaki Sauce). I thought the Unagi went best with the spicy sauce, which wasn’t actually very spicy and a bit sweet. While the Yam Tempura was not as interesting as the Unagi, it was still well made. Although all the Tempura sticks were heavily battered, I feel it was necessary to maintain that crunch when dipped into the array of sauces. This would probably be one of my favorite appetizers at Gyo-O!
Not that special about the Oden and it also seems to lack soup. If compared, I’d prefer the Oden at Manzo or Guu Garden. The Oden at Gyo-O also lacked soup, it seemed kind of dry. While I feel that the soup is suppose to be the highlight of any bowl of Oden as the assorted ingredients are usually quite generic. However, I have to say, it’s the first time I’ve had Taro Jelly (I think? It’s the one that has cross-cuts and a skewer sticking into it) in Oden, but it was my top choice in this combination. The Jelly actually soaked in the soup quite well, yet provided a very chewy texture (kind of like Squid or Jello:))!
If you’re intrigued by the Unagi Tempura Sticks, I’d suggest pairing it with an Onsen Egg on a Don. I don’t really like eating eggs with runny yolks, but this has to be an exception. The Onsen Egg really improves the texture of the rice, giving it a smooth and silky glaze. Along with the extra crunch from the Unagi Tempura, you get a really great mix of textures. Not to mention, the Unagi was very rich in flavor and tender as you bit through the golden batter.
No doubt a tastier alternative to KFC. The chicken remains extra juicy and tender underneath the deep-fried batter. Unlike some All-You-Can-Eat joints, the Chicken Kara age is coated with a light batter that creates a crisp skin over the meat, (not a mouthful of deep-fried batter)so every bite is extremely meaty. Also, when I get deep-fried foods, I’m usually afraid that it’ll be too heavy and give you that greasy after-feeling. The Chicken Kara age was actually considerably light and I feel like the Egg and Rice was a good equalizer. Although make sure to pour on the sauce (tasted like a soy-based sauce, with a bit of sweetness) because I think that really improves the flavor of the rice and reduces grease.
For a healthier choice, a bowl of Salmon Don would definitely please your taste buds. Although this is probably a bland choice among the variety offered at Gyo-O, it’s perfect for satisfying a Salmon craving. The Salmon was fresh and kind of buttery; the salmon-oil-taste was very obvious. I love seaweed salad, so I thought the side of seaweed was an excellent addition. I’d say this is a quality Salmon Don and an optimal choice for a light meal.
This is actually from a visit to Gyo-O during their 1-Year Anniversary, so only offered for a limited time. It was a great deal at $10! This offered a great variety of seafood just in one bowl. Consisting of Salmon, Tuna, Ebi, Tamago, Kani, Raw Octopus, Tobiko and probably some other ingredients I’m forgetting, it was definitely the best Don I’ve had there. All the ingredients were extremely fresh and full of flavor. Especially the Tuna and Salmon, which had a silky and buttery texture. If you need a bit more flavor, a slight drizzle of soy sauce would suffice as the fresh oils from the seafood were mouthwatering all on it’s own.
After my first visit to Gyo-O, I’ve made weekly trips here just for a great dinner after work. It’s absolutely one of the best casual dining I can think of in terms of Japanese cuisine (I’d consider Guu, Manzo, and Ebisu to be less casual than Gyo-O). The service is always quick and friendly, so you get your meal fast (especially important after a long day’s work)! I actually started coming here so often, I was disappointed a few times when I realized it was closed every second Wednesday of the month (yet a kept forgettin…lol)! So if your hungry, and it’s no the second Wednesday of the month, I’d hop by for a tasty bowl of Don!