Pabu at the Four Seasons features excellent Japanese sushi

I recently made my first visit to Pabu Sushi Restaurant.  It is located on the lower level of the Four Seasons Hotel.  But there is no door from the hotel directly into the restaurant.  You have to enter from Aliceanna Street.

It serves primarily sushi.  The other menu items all have a definite Japanese flavor, like the chicken meatball (jidori egg yolk), the prime skirt steak (black pepper garlic soy) and Berkshire pork country ribs (red chili glaze).

Chicken on Robata (Courtesy photo)
Chicken on Robata (Courtesy photo)

The menu items are meant to be shared.  So it would be a good idea to order several items and try them all.

The Executive Chef is Jonah Kim, who has an extensive resume of cooking. (See above photo: Ken’s Roll)  You can rely on him to prepare your food just as you ordered it.  The restaurant seats about 130 and that includes outside seating.  When you get a chance to eat there you’ll certainly enjoy the view.  It faces south toward the Ritz.  There is also a fairly large selection of Japanese whiskey, beer  and wine.  I threw caution to the wind and sampled some sake.  A word of warning here, it can creep up on you before you know it.  You don’t want that to happen if you have to drive home.

Actually drive home is what most patrons do.  Being in a hotel, or adjacent to one to be exact, you’d think most of the diners come from hotel guests.  According to the very affable general manager 80 percent of the folks who eat here are locals.  That I think is a great testament to the restaurant.

Happy Spoon
Happy Spoon (Courtesy Photo)

Let’s be honest, how often do you think of a hotel restaurant when deciding where to dine on any night.  If the food and service continues at the level I witnessed, Pabu will see many locals walk in the door.  I did find the wait staff particularly helpful in explaining the various dishes and drinks.  If the menu doesn’t clearly state hamburgers or pasta I could be easily confused.  My server went as far as telling me in what region of Japan the food came from.

Another good sign is the night I was there, a Tuesday no less, Pabu was crowded.  My goodness it was a school night, who were all those people?  But the bar, sushi bar and tables were just about full.  The staff was busy but not busy enough to spend time with each patron.  I was told there is a fairly extensive training period before anyone of them actually waits on a customer.  The menu is basically divided into categories, such as cold small plates, hot small plates, large plates, sushi & sashimi and robatayaki (12 pieces per order).  Sushi represents about one third of the total sales.

Coconut (Courtesy Photo)
Coconut (Courtesy Photo)

Don’t be concerned about parking downtown.  Pull up to the door and valet the car ($8.00).  A private area is available for any private event.  There is an open kitchen if you like to see the cooks at work.  You can reach Pabu by calling 410-223-1460 or by visiting Pabu’s website.

Before I go let me briefly mention something you can do before or after dinner, I think before is a better idea.  Go up to the fourth floor of the hotel and enjoy any one of the many spa services.  It’s open seven days from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and reservations are a good idea.  Some of those services include a vitality pool and shower, sauna, a steam sauna, fitness center and relaxation room.   I had a mud-pack treatment.  I looked great until the mud fell off!

For more reviews of Pabu Sushi Restaurant see Larry Luxner’s report.