One of the great things about Atlanta is Buford Highway. You can wonder in and out of strip malls filled with ethnic foods from around the world. Miles and miles of options.
I’ve been reading a lot about Gu’s Kitchen new location on Buford Highway and with the weather not the best for any outdoor activities, I decided to give it a try. When I arrived, there was a dragon festival commemorating the beginning of the Lunar New Year and it set the stage for the festive culinary events to follow.
To the left of the entrance are two coolers filled with water, one plain and the other, “lemon,” with lots of glasses stacked neatly to one side. I did not understand their purpose when I arrived, but would 15 minutes later, after a few bites of noodles. To the right of the entrance is your first stop, the combination ordering station and cashier. You receive a menu and an obligatory, “Is this your first time here?” questions. When I smiled, the cashier was great about making recommendations, I wanted to order a lot, but we agreed to keep it small, an order of six dumplings and the handmade, thick noodles. You then pay, go to your table and wait. The food arrived in about 5 minutes.
The dumplings are a must. You can choose from three fillings, pork, chicken or vegetables and pair it with one of the two sauces, I chose pork filling with the Zhong style, Gu’s award-winning famous sweet & spicy sauce.
They were perfect in every way. Words cannot describe the silkiness of the wrappers, soft, succulent and added just a touch of flavor. The pork filling was delicious, not too much, not too little, and added great flavor, not fighting with the other ingredients. The sauce/oil was a variety of spicy, ranging from a 4 to a 6 on my scale, depending on each bite. Overall, these were probably the best dumplings I have ever eaten.
The noodles are described on the menu as “Handmade thick chewy noodles with homemade sweet sauce and chili oil; sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. One of the most famous street foods in Chengdu.”
The noodles were thick and mounded in a bowl covered with a very similar spicy oil to the dumplings. I was a little concerned that they would be gummy, but I could not have been more wrong, they were soft and delicate throughout (I disagree with the “chewy” description). The sauce added the same level of spiciness as the dumplings, again, depending on the individual bite, it could range from moderate to noticeable kick of spiciness. In addition, the spiciness stays on the lips and mouth for a few minutes afterwards.
Overall, Gu’s kitchen should be a “must go to” on everyone’s list. I hate saying this since I need to also get back to try some of the other dishes.