PABU, the second restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, is set to open Tuesday night.
The dinner only restaurant is a first collaboration between Michael Mina, whose San Francisco-based restaurant group also developed the concept for Wit & Wisdom, the Four Seasons' three-meal restaurant, and Ken Tominaga, owner and chef of Hana Japanese Restaurant in Sonoma County, Calif.
PABU is being described as a modern izakaya, a term that translates, very loosely, as a bar that serves food. An izakaya craze-let in New York and San Francisco has come with the usual carping on message boards about what is and isn't an authentic izakaya. Some insist that a true izakaya really shouldn't be fancy or sophisticated.
The old-fashioned kind of izakaya still exists in Japan but so do contemporary, upscale versions like PABU, where the decor "will combine rustic, old world Japanese charm with modern, urban sophistication."
With PABU, Baltimore gets its first sake sommelier, Tiffany Dawn Soto, who will be managing a beverage list that includes over 100 sakes, an ample wine and beer selection, and an Asian-inspired cocktail list. PABU's other big spirit -- whiskey, which will be offered in variations on the traditional Japanese whiskey ceremony.
UPDATED: PABU will be open 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday (closed on Sunday and Monday).