Asian Influences Attract Locals to PABU

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore

Although located in the Four Seasons Hotel, 80 percent of diners are Baltimore-area residents.

Owner: Michael Mina Restaurants
Location: Baltimore
Description: Japanese dishes with global influences and an expansive beverage menu with 102 premium sakes hand-selected by the resident Master Sake Sommelier.
Opened: May 8, 2012

Highly acclaimed modern Japanese izakaya (pub), PABU, located in Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, accomplished its goals for year one and faces year two with renewed focus.

“The first year of a restaurant is the hardest, but the second year is the most important,” says Anthony Kinn, PABU’s general manager. “In year two you are established, so customers won’t let you use the excuse that you are new.”

Overlooking Baltimore’s harbor, PABU is the first collaboration of restaurateur Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga, chef/owner of the celebrated Hana Japanese Restaurant in Northern California.

“A restaurant can have a hard time differentiating itself from the competition,” says Kinn. “But there is nothing like our concept in Baltimore.”

PABU’s menu features Japanese dishes with global influences and high-quality ingredients including jet-fresh fish. Featuring a wide array of upgraded classic sushi and sashimi choices, the menu includes small plates such as “Happy Spoon,” which is uni, ikura, and ponzu crème fraiche as well as Maryland crab okonimiyaki with bonito and Chesapeake Bayonaise.

The restaurant also offers a six-course tasting menu for $44.88.

“I think Japanese cuisine is best when you let the product speak for itself,” says executive chef, Jonah Kim. “For me, Japanese food is pure and most of the cuisine is not heavy. There are so many health benefits and fish is a huge part of the culture.”

Desserts include a festive Sundae Service with exotic ice cream flavors including pineapple green tea, hibiscus, plum, strawberry and honey, and sesame—as well as a black tapioca, togarashi chocolate, and caramel crumble.

It also touts a stellar beverage menu under the direction of beverage manager and Master Sake Sommelier, Tiffany Dawn Soto, one of only five accredited in the U.S.

Soto, who works closely with Chef Kim, has created a unique program with 102 premium sakes, beer, wine, a variety of Japanese whiskeys, bourbon, scotch, and an Asian-inspired cocktail list that changes seasonally.


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