Chefs Michael Mina And Ken Tominaga Open Pabu In Baltimore, Maryland
Celebrated chef and restaurateur Michael Mina opens PABU (725 Aliceanna Street; 410-223-1460), his second signature restaurant located adjacent to Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. PABU, a modern Izakaya, is the first collaboration of Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga, Chef/Owner of the celebrated Hana Japanese Restaurant in Northern California. PABU combines rustic, Old World Japanese charm with modern, urban sophistication overlooking Baltimore's Harbor.
Chef Tominaga, a Tokyo native and alumnus of Tokyo's acclaimed Akasaka Cooking School, realized his lifelong dream by opening Hana Japanese Restaurant in Northern California in 1990. The popular restaurant is widely known as "one of the best restaurants in all of Sonoma County" (San Francisco Chronicle) and has developed a cult following amongst fellow chefs and the local restaurant industry. Mina first met Tominaga ten years ago, visiting Hana Japanese Restaurant per a recommendation from one of Mina's chefs. Given that Tominaga is best known for striving for perfection, it was not long before Mina and his family became regulars at Hana Japanese Restaurant and the chefs developed a mutual admiration for one another's craft. When Mina decided to open in the Baltimore area, he knew that Tominaga would the ideal partner to collaborate with on a Japanese concept.
PABU's fare features modern Japanese cuisine with global influences using seasonal and high-quality ingredients including jet-fresh pristine fish from around the world, especially Japan's famed Tsukiji Market. Aside from a diverse local and domestic sushi and sashimi selection, the menu is broken down into categories such as Cold Small Plates, Hot Small Plates, Robata (grilled skewers) and Rice, Noodles & Soup. Small plate highlights include "Happy Spoon" (uni, ikura and ponzu cr�me fraiche) and Maryland Crab Okonimiyaki with bonito and Chesapeake Bayonaise. Skewers prepared on the exposed robata grill include Kariganebone (chicken shoulder blade; "the best part of the chicken") as well as Beef Tendon with yuzu kosho and ponzu sauce. Satisfying soup, rice and noodle dish highlights include Michael's Chicken Noodle Soup with ramen and rich chicken dashi; Unagidon (broiled fresh water eel, foie gras, sweet soy and sesame seeds) and "Steakidon" (Piedmont Ridge beef bowl with wafu steak sauce). Upgraded classic sushi rolls such as Maryland Soft Shell Crab with Tobiko and Shrimp Tempura, avocado, spicy tuna, pine nut and chili garlic furikake are signatures of Tominaga.
Desserts at PABU include a festive Sundae Service with Pineapple Green Tea Ice Cream, hibiscus, plum, strawberry and honey or Sesame Ice Cream, black tapioca, togarashi chocolate and caramel crumble. Dessert Omakase include Honey Panna Cotta with yuzu geleee and tapioca; Mochi with miso caramel ice cream and white soy caramel and Green Tea Sorbet with lemongrass, melon and pineapple.
Curated by Beverage Manager and Master Sake Sommelier Tiffany Dawn Soto, PABU's beverage program offers a large selection of libations, including over 100 premium and super premium sakes. In addition to an ample wine and beer selection, an Asian-inspired cocktail list with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, sake and whisky, Japan's beloved spirit. Variations on the traditional Japanese Whisky Ceremony are served with a handmade ice sphere and pairing essence.
Designed by Frost-Tsuji Architects, PABU features bamboo ceilings, specially commissioned art pieces and beautifully crafted solid wood tabletops, benches and chairs. The restaurant, with its warm, neutral, earth tones, serves dinner only and offers seating for 70 in the dining room and up to 10 in the Tatami room. Additional seating is available for approximately 12 at the bar, 14 in the