PABU

I don’t make a habit of checking out places during their last days, but I couldn’t miss out on this Baltimore favorite that we are losing.   For as much time as I spend in Harbor East and at the FS specifically, I can’t believe it took me until the last weekend before I managed to eat here.

Pabu is an izakaya style Japanese restaurant – another brain child of Michael Mina in conjunction with Ken Tominaga.  I am a fan of asian small plates and drinks – I still consider sushi one of my favorites.

I have a few friends who love this Pabu – one who basically wanted to eat there each and every night of their final week.  He did most of our ordering, but I added in a few dishes which became a favorite of the night.

We started with the happy spoon – a beautiful salty oyster with uni, ikura, tobiko and ponzu crème fraîche.  Aki Tuna PokeI am glad you order per spoon and that our next course arrived before I ordered about 1700 more.  Now, onto that next course – the ahi tuna poke – this picture does not do this expertly cut raw ahi justice.  The salty and crispy wonton was a perfect serving method for the fish with scallions and tobiko.  I think the Pabu Wings came next – sweet, garlicky, crispy, juicy, and succulent.  I loved these wings; they were huge.

Now, my friend has raved about their ribs, Pabu Wings – about how they always order the ribs, and then order about 5-10 more plates.  I can see why!! The Berkshire Pork Country Ribs were fall off the bone tender.  The meat had  a perfect sear and then slathered in a red chili glaze. Spicy! Mouthwatering!  Literally!  I could have ordered a few more plates, as long as they kept the semi sweet, easy to drink Chigusa flowing (gin, elderflower, ginger ale with mint), which our adorable server managed to do effortlessly.

We did order two of the red snapper nigiri. The smooth, sweet white fish over the hand rolled vinegar rice. So tempting, one each wasn’t enough.

I am not sure how I still had room for half of Ken’s Roll – shrimp tempura with avocado, rolled with rice on the outside and topped with the spicy tuna and a pine nut.Ken's Roll  I loved the crunch of the pine nut.  I am not a huge fan of shrimp, but it was perfectly cooked and the tempura managed to stay crispy.  Even though we were stuffed we had two desserts that had so many flavors, I am sure I will miss half of them as I try to describe it.  IMG_2007The sweet dessert came in a dark bowl, with sake soaked cake, a sake infused sorbet.  My favorite parts were the crunchy brioche parts and the caramelized banana with sweet creamy dollops with mint.  It was delicious; each lip smacking bite was different mix of tart and sweet. Fantastic.

The city of Baltimore mourns a culinary giant. RIP Pabu. Pabu Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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