Jul. 9th, 2014 07:29 pm
d_trektone_w: (lj badge)
[personal profile] d_trektone_w
[ profile] keker took me to dinner after we saw "Begin Again" (aka "Once Again" - LOL). We agreed we'd see if the recently-opened Pabu had availability and, if not, we'd look elsewhere. We got in!

Open barely a week, it's the latest by celebrity chef Michael Mina, who partnered with Chef Ken Tominaga, to create an upscale izakaya and sushi place, (which they initially did in Baltimore in 2012, though that Pabu recently closed). They also opened the Ramen Bar next door for casual dining, though Pabu did not feel like a fine-dining space to me.

After a conversation with the waitress where I eventually learned she was not familiar with whiskies, she had someone more knowledgeable come over. After his description of the various Japanese whiskies, with focus on the White Oak Akashi blended and single malt I chose the latter. It was very fresh, smooth and clean tasting, and definitely opened up with more spice after I added a nice, small cube of ice. I may go back for the blended, or try both side by side. I plan to get a photo of the single malt bottle the next time I'm in the area.

"Tamago nigiri" - [ profile] keker's

"Kampyo maki" - [ profile] keker's

"Kinpira burdock" - aka gobo, similar to what I remember my mom and grandmother making for special occasions. I liked this a lot.

"Summer chawanmushi" - This was a chilled version of the savory custard dish I like so much. Recently had the heated version at Kirala in Berkeley, which I liked a lot more. The cold version certainly had tasty ingredients like the nicely cooked shrimp, shiitake mushroom slices and excellent uni, but the egg custard itself was not that smooth to me.

"Maitake mushroom tempura" - This had great flavor, though in retrospect the tempura coating was not as light and crisp as I've had other places. The mushroom itself was really good, and Christine liked the dipping sauce, too.

"Miso black cod" - Another dish I had at Kirala, though this was a larger portion and included veggies. The miso seasoning/curing was lighter than at Kirala and the fish itself was super-fresh and wonderfully cooked. While I very much enjoyed the Pabu version, I couldn't help thinking Kirala's was less than half the price.

coffee jelly and chunks of brittle in a caramel pudding - None of the dessert items thrilled me upon initial reading, but the waitress suggested this and [ profile] keker was interested. I liked the flavors, but the combination of textures didn't make me love this dish. The coffee jelly cubes were kind of fun and the pudding was flavorful if not particularly deep, but the brittle was more spongy than crunchy. I believe a version of this dish without the brittle is available at Ramen Bar so I may try it again. Still, I'm glad we tried it.

Thank you, [ profile] keker!!!

I'm interested in trying the Ramen Bar, where I'm told they make their own ramen, etc. The ramen bowl options are cheaper than at the Ramen Shop in Oakland that I really like, but portions and ingredients other than the broth and noodles may vary a lot. I'll see!

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