Pabu Makes A Splash With Grand Opening At Millennium Tower Boston
The award for Boston’s best restaurant opening in 2016 goes to Pabu and world class Chef Michael Mina. I felt the excitement and anticipation whirling through Pabu’s opening gala. As I and the other well-appointed guests sipped complimentary champagne and dined on butler-passed zenzai. Located at the brand new and lustrous Millennium Tower Boston in Downtown Crossing, Pabu is a modern, urban sushi bar and izakaya bringing the Japanese gastropub and one of a kind, innovative cuisine to Boston.
Mirrored after their original location in San Francisco, but with a distinctly neww England flavor, Pabu is the brainchild of Chef Mina and the Mina group in partnership with Chef Ken Tominaga. Having grown up with a love and passion for exquisite culinary creations, Chef Tominaga brings his expertise to Pabu’s kitchen using the highest-quality, freshest food from New England.
Eager to attend the opening event, I rode the one-button elevator to the second floor. From the front entrance, where a bronzed sugidama greets you as you enter, to the sake table flanking the sushi bar, sake making is evident in every corner. Sake tools and serving ware placed throughout the space are as much a part of the design as the lighting. Pendant lights throughout the restaurant range from Japanese lanterns to Victorian oil lamp recreations. Behind the sushi bar three cranes representing happiness and good fortune watch over guests. Pabu creates an old-world feel with modern compliments and an upbeat youthful vibe.
The sensational mood that evening carried partygoers, myself included, through the night as we gathered for the evening’s highlight. Standing around the table poised in front of the sushi bar, cameras at the ready, I watched corporate chefs carry out a fresh, eye-popping 200-pound tuna for Chef Tominaga to carve into sashimi. After the performance, itamaes, or sushi chefs, served us raw tuna slices with soy sauce and wasabi. Had I not witnessed its dissection myself, blindfolded I might have thought my tuna was a tender filet steak. Only this was much better.
Plucked straight off the menu for the event guests enjoyed selections like the ‘Happy Spoon’ oyster made with different variations of raw roe, oysters, and a ponzu crème fraiche. I stopped for the must have small plates like edamame, with just the right amount of salt, and the Tokyo fried chicken. The tender chicken pieces with hints of ginger and soy titillated my taste buds when dipped in the accompanying spicy mayo. Wait staff passed chicken and pork belly skewers, and the sushi chefs hand rolled me an avocado roll like I’ve never had before. Using a crunchy seaweed wrap and shaping it like a cone gave it a unique texture that is missing in many avocado-based rolls.
In keeping with the old-meets-new theme, Leah V “The People’s DJ” provided dance-worthy entertainment by mixing classic tunes like Carl Carlton’s She’s A Bad Mama Jama and Madonna’s Vogue with modern, fresh beats. Placed in the back, near the 17-seat private dining room, the sake table complimented the long sushi bar continually refreshed with items straight off the menu. I’m not much of a sake fan and usually avoid the drink when I hit a Japanese restaurant, but I fell in love with the Ginjo with its cucumber and eucalyptus underlying notes.
If you are looking for Boston’s most unique dining experience, and a fine selection of Japanese whiskey or sake and sushi that tastes like the ocean is in the kitchen, Pabu is the experience for you. Pabu is now open at Millennium Tower Boston in Downtown Boston, the city’s unrivaled new luxury residential address. Reservations are accepted for the dining room, or stop in the lounge for happy hour every Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 PM.