I recently reviewed Gu’s Bistro, a delightful Sichuanese restaurant located in a shopping center off Buford Highway. In my review I mentioned the menu is extensive and that it would take many visits to scratch the surface of what this restaurant offers. The restaurant’s dim sum experience is an example.
I mentioned in the review that Gu’s dim sum format is different from the “push cart” style common in Cantonese restaurants. It is prix fixe ($15) and dishes come out one by one.
Here are the descriptions of the dishes in the order they appear in the slideshow above:
Chile tofu marinated in soy – The first small item went down like a palate cleanser. The chewy sweet sticks of tofu are intensely flavored in soy sauce and pack a little heat from red chile oil.
Laba rice porridge – One of my dining companions complained that this warm rice porridge tasted like “nothing.” But I grew up eating Korean juk, which has a similar thick consistency and neutral flavor. This dish is revered by some Chinese prompting an annual festival where it is eaten to signify long term health and good fortune.
You cha – This was one of my favorites. Manager Yvonne Gu and her staff didn’t know how to translate what this is in English but think of it as another warm porridge-like dish topped with crunchy bits of Chinese cruller bread, beef, scallions and chile oil.
Peanut milk – This dish was also palate cleansing. The cool light milk was refreshing and contained raw bits of peanut.
Chengdu cold noodles - I praised this slick noodle dish flavored with sweet soy sauce and garlic in my main review of the restaurant. A small serving made an appearance.
Pan fried pork buns – These thick skin dumplings bare similarity to items you would find in a Cantonese dim sum experience. These were fun but can be a little challenging with chopsticks.
Fermented rice cake - I really enjoyed this spongy rice cake. It is fermented so the flavor is slightly raw and sour.
Wonton pork dumplings with shrimp – This was a fun and aesthetic dish. The dumpling contains a little dollop of pork filling in the center and the wrapper is pinched, but not enclosed, so the edges form a cool wavy design.
Half moon dumplings in chile oil – I’ve taken creative liberties with the name of this one. These half moon pork dumplings are boiled (or steamed) then finished with chile oil, scallions and garlic. These were my favorite dumplings.
Sticky rice balls – This bubbly treat was the first sweet item of the experience. The fermented rice cake and peanut milk were a tad sweet but not as dessert-like as these gooey sweet bean filled rice balls.
Fish fillet with pickled cabbage soup – Take wonton soup broth (or something tasting similar to it), add pickled cabbage leaves and then chunks of soft cooked fish. If any of you have been to Marietta’s Tasty China, they also have a version of this soup on its menu. I like Tasty’s China version better as it packs more heat and tang, but Gu’s is pretty good.
Beef rice noodle soup – This soup was my other favorite. Slithery rice noodles sit in a warm meaty broth and is topped with chunks of tender beef, fresh greens and soft tubes of bamboo. What’s not to like?
San Da Pao – The dim sum experience ends with this dish that reads like a Portuguese town. The name actually translates to “the three guns or cannons.” This is a Chengdu (capital city of Sichuan province) street snack that is prepared by taking balls of sweet sticky rice and throwing them against a pan containing ground sesame. The “pow” sounds from the balls hitting the tray are reminiscent of gunshots, hence its name. The rice ball — traditionally served in a trio — came in a shallow bowl containing a light sweet syrup. It was a nice ending to the experience.
I recently read on Gu’s Facebook feed that they are hosting a dim sum party this Sunday, June 19 at 1 p.m. This means that the minimum requirement of a party of ten has been met so they can start taking smaller or individual reservations.
Gu’s Bistro, 5750 Buford Highway, Suite A, Doraville. 770-451-8118.
- by Gene Lee, Food and More blog
– Gene Lee writes about International Cuisine for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal.