Goen Japanese Restaurant – Maneki-neko Beckons You

Today’s New Restaurant Saturday is brought to you by a Korean/Japanese hybrid restaurant.

I was challenged to sushi this week. I had been to a lot of the best places in town. I really wasn’t up to doing All You Can Eat solo so I was looking for something a la carte. It was a tough choice, but it was a good challenge. I scoured the internet along with even posting a call to suggestions on social media. You can’t do New Restaurant Saturdays at a restaurant you’ve already been to. On Northfield East, not far from Conestoga Mall, I found GoeN.

GoeN had only opened for business at the beginning of this year. Then Covid hit, I feel for them. I picked it as my restaurant this week, cause I’m all about supporting small business and showing others what’s out there. I invited a friend this time, as I just couldn’t do sushi without friends. It’s an unwritten rule.

The staff seemed busy with lots of takeout and delivery orders going out. There were just a few other tables with guests. Regardless of how busy they seemed to be, we were warmly greeted by the staff and asked for a table to sit. Were guided to a table near the back of the small restaurant.

They have lots to choose from on their menu like Ramen, Sushi, Udon, Bulgogi, Donburi, so many options. Great for those who like Japanese or Korean, even for those who do not like sushi. I chose the Galbi Zen Combo, Torched Rainbow Dragon, and a beer to drink. My friend ordered the Sesame Chicken Zen and a beer.

The Galbi Zen Combo: A nice simple salad, a delicious vinaigrette of some sort that had a slightly peanutty taste (my companion raved the dressing). The Miso soup was simple but could have used a bit larger pieces of tofu, (but that’s just a personal preference). White rice with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

A tempura mix of veggies and shrimp, most surprised that there was a mushroom that was coated in crispy tempura. The squash used to be my fave, but the mighty mushroom has moved it down a notch.

Sushi was three pieces, one each of a different variety, three maki rolls which appeared to be California rolls.

I did not get a picture of the whole platter, sadly, as due to having a friend along I missed the chance (I know shame on me).

Galbi is marinated beef short ribs and were sweet and smokey and piping hot. They arrived on a sizzling cast iron pan laying on a bed of onions. You could taste the smoke from the grill with the right amount of fat to make the little ribs juicy. They were darn good! I really should have ordered a larger order of them (next time).

I saw the Torched Rainbow Dragon Roll on the menu. I was intrigued, so added it to our meal. It was beautiful! And when you put it in your mouth you could smell the charred bits of salmon and tuna on the top. Inside was tempura shrimp, avocado and some tobiko. This Roll was huge and was definitely not a one biter. You should order this one. I want more!

My friend ordered the Sesame Chicken Zen Combo. Though I did not take any pictures of her meal it was nearly identical except for the main part of her combo. She said it was amazing, loved how sweet the staff were, and would be interested in having a return visit.

Opinion: GoeN is a gem that I would have never found had I not been given a challenge for this week’s New Restaurant Saturdays, to find a new sushi restaurant.
The Galbi was sweet and smokey. The randomly picked, Torched Dragon roll was delicious and memorable. The staff seemed sincere and cared about what you were choosing.
I will definitely be back! I may even choose it over the more popular joints in this town. There is room for love to be shared. I think you too would be surprised by this little Japanese Restaurant in a plaza tucked behind a Tim Hortons and a gas station on Northfield Dr E. In Waterloo. 

Is there a place or kind of cuisine you’d like to see me try? Post it below in the comments and I’ll see what I can find.👇

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