Ken Tominaga, of the famed Hana Japanese Restaurant in Sonoma County, brings forth a modern take on traditional Izakaya-style dining with PABU San Francisco. In partnership with Michael Mina and Mina Group, this modern izakaya and sushi bar in downtown San Francisco is a dream brought to life for Tominaga and Mina. Located at the landmark 101 California space in San Francisco’s Financial District, PABU combines rustic, old-world Japanese charm with modern, urban sophistication to create a dynamic, social dining experience.
PABU presents a modern take on traditional Izakaya-style dining. An À La Carte Menu is available in the izakaya and dining room highlighting seasonal small plates, traditionally grilled items from the robata and composed entrées. Favorites include Chef Ken’s award-winning sushi and sashimi, fresh tofu, and tempura. In the dining room, in addition to the a la carte menu a main highlight is Ken’s Nigiri Tasting Menu – an experience of culinary expressionism, boasting beautiful courses of Edo-style nigiri served two pieces at a time. Featuring the finest locally and globally sourced seafood available – including fish flown in from Japan’s famed Tsukiji Market – Ken’s Nigiri Tasting Menu is also offered with an optional sake pairing from local talent and Master of Sake, Stuart Morris. Shabu Shabu service emphasizes a unique and interactive clean eating experience for the guest, featuring A4 and A5 Japanese Wagyu and fresh vegetables cooked in savory broths right at the table. PABU’s sushi bar experience features sushi, sashimi and rolls made with the freshest fish from the famed Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, as well as local seafood delicacies.
PABU guests enjoy a large beverage selection that supports the philosophy of the menu, modern Japanese interpretations and techniques. The star of the show is a collection of premium and super premium sakes served in a variety of vessels. At PABU, sake is served chilled so that the flavor profiles slowly emerge as it reaches room temperature. Celebrating Japan’s love of whisky, PABU houses some of Japan’s most prestigious whiskies including single malt, blended and single grain varieties. Our Master of Sake, Stuart Morris, pairs the chef’s omakase menu with sake and beverage pairing options according to guest’s preferences and tastes. The Japanese Whisky Ceremony offers guests a unique experience where whisky is served with pairing essence to highlight its own distinctive flavors. A cocktail program reflective of Japanese tradition highlights unique spirits through modernized classics with an emphasis on creativity and presentation. Assorted Japanese beers and boutique wines from around the world are offered as well.
Designed by BISHOP PASS, PABU is inspired by elements of air and earth. Anchoring the restaurant is an installation of Japanese lanterns suspended from the ceiling that casts a soft glow over a honed basalt and crushed bamboo bar, emphasizing the air element. The restaurant and dining spaces are grounded by the earth element with rich materials like Douglas fir trellises and booths, stone and concrete walls, and oak wood floors. A ceiling screened by heavy timbers, and depictions of blooming apple and cherry blossom trees on concrete surfaces are meant to signify life and growth. One of most exciting features of the design is the indoor garden dining room. The semi-private space extends out from the building, creating an enclosed atrium evocative of an old world Japanese ikebana for flower arrangement. A rustic workshop table and an installation of vintage Japanese gardening tools and hanging flora and fauna add a sense of authenticity inside the haute hothouse. The sushi bar, made of black lacquer and a solid maple bar top, gives guests a front row seat to the impeccable knife skills of PABU’s sushi chef, Yukinori Yamamoto. Highlights of the PABU interior include:
• A dynamic and stunning bar area ideal for happy hours, late night drinks, and with seating for 114 guests.
• Private dining area separated from the restaurant by up-lit shoji screens adorned with historic images of Japanese warriors
• A semi-private patio dining area evocative of an old world Japanese ikebana for flower arrangement.