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Pabu, Chef Ken Tominaga's Izakaya next to Four Seasons Harbor East - Closed Jun 14, 2014

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I'm very much looking forward to a Japanese restaurant run by an actual Japanese chef in Baltimore. Most places are currently Korean or Chinese run sushi & roll places.

Pubu, Japanese for "pub", located in the Four Seasons at Harbor East is scheduled to open next week. They are planning to serve izakaya style food from chef Michael Mina and chef Ken Tominga (Hana in Sonoma).

I'm thinking of making it a dinner for Mother's Day weekend. I will certainly report back.

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I'm happy to have Pabu in Baltimore- at last, serious Japanese cuisine in town. Chef is shipping in some fish from Tsukiji in Tokyo for sushi, and the izakaya and robata dishes are good as well.

I started with a good sake cocktail, but I would love to go back with a less teetotaling group to try out their sake menu.

My favorite items were the shishito peppers with bonito and shoyu, raw oysters with ponzu, the skewered chicken hearts, beef tendon, and kariganebone.

The unagidon was decadent with a slab of foie gras on top, and the sushi is probably the best in the city now.

Pics and more details are on my blog here

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The prices are on their menu online. It's what I expect to pay for exceptional Japanese food.

I saw that, but having not eaten there (nor experienced this style of Japanese cuisine), I don't have a good feel for how many small plates one might need to eat in order to feel satisfied so was hoping for a comparison from someone who has experienced both. No worries, maybe I'll try to get up there for happy hour sometime to test the waters.

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Dinner here on Saturday night with a California friend in the midst of attending a convention, and quite impressed. The Kyoho Smoke cocktail (bourbon, Laphroaig 10 yr., lemon, honey, black grapes) was a great accompaniment to many of the dishes (the Fig Pimpin, a sweeter drink, was less complimentary though tasty). Start with the Goma-Ae, with steamed spinach and a sweet sesame dressing. It looks so simple but the flavors were surprisingly complex. Likewise, the brussel sprouts with a chili mayo and sesame had a great char and their bursting flavor matched their appearance. Three of us shared the Robata platter--five skewers (three chicken, one beef, one pork belly)--which were fine, though not the evening's highlight. That, instead went to the savory egg custard with scallop, prawn, and mushrooms, and the crab okonomiyaki, which looked exactly like the picture in post #4 above--both delicious. The dessert omokase, comprised of five small dishes, was enough for three people to share. This was a satisfying dinner, with mostly fine service (a drink server disappeared too soon) in a lovely setting and a good price. (Though they would do well to mark the entrance more clearly--nearly every person tried instead to open the locked double doors to the patio.) A fine lighter option on the East Harbor.

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That's too bad. The tasting menu at PABU was a fantastic deal.

I can see The Washington Post headline now: "Michael Mina, The Four Seasons, To Part Ways"

" ... those who still want to dupe themselves into thinking that they're rubbing elbows with Michael Mina - you know, that really famous celebrity chef - needn't worry: they can still see his name printed on the menu at The Four Seasons' flagship, Wit and Wisdom, and also at Georgetown's BourbonSteak. Or, they can wait until he comes out with his exclusive line of salad dressings next year at Safeway which will have a picture of his smiling face on the label, wearing his chef's toque." ^_^

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