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Mina's Pabu and The Ramen Bar Say Konichiwa to the FiDi

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[Photos: Patricia Chang]

Right on schedule, the massive new duo of Japanese restaurants from uber-chef Michael Mina and his pal Ken Tominaga (the chef of Rohnert Park's acclaimed Hana Japanese Restaurant) have made their entrance at 101 California. Pabu, the more upscale of the duo, is an izakaya and sushi spot; more casual The Ramen Bar, as its name suggests, is all about the noodles. Both spaces were designed by Bishop Pass, and feature lots of high ceilings, wood elements, and for Pabu, a showstopping central bar and 22-seat maple and lacquer sushi bar.

The food at Pabu is definitely high-end (its prices rival those of Michael Mina), with an assortment of izakaya-style small plates like the "happy spoon" (with an oyster, uni, and ikura), miso octopus, chicken karaage, gyoza, and sake-steamed clams. Larger dishes include three kinds of shabu shabu (seafood, American Wagyu, and A5 Wagyu), as well as a robata grill with the full complement of skewers, and a few large plates like miso black cod or American Wagyu surf and turf. As for the sushi bar, it offers both rolls and nigiri, with many fish flown in from Japan's Tsukiji Market. There are two omakase menus as well: one for just sushi, and one for the full tour of the menu. Paul Piscopo (St. Regis, W Hotel) will run the day-to-day as executive chef and culinary manager of both restaurants, while Yoji Harada will head up the sushi bar. Here's the full dinner menu.

At 80 seats, Pabu's bar and lounge are nearly as large as its 76-seat dining room and 22-seat sushi bar, and Mina's go-to cocktail guru Carlo Splendorini has concocted a menu of sake, Japanese single-malts, and other treats. With everything from ionizers to torched whisky ceremonies to five kinds of ice, it's easily one of the city's most ambitious drink offerings yet. For further intel, our In the Drink spotlight has all the details on what Splendorini's up to. Here's the full drink menu.

Meanwhile, over at the 56-seat Ramen Bar, Tominaga is focusing on four bowls (roast chicken, pork belly, shrimp and crab dumpling, mushroom and tofu) that emphasize clean broths—don't look for tonkotsu here. Donburi bowls and Japanese-inspired salads round out the menu, and there's cold-pressed juice, boba tea and Hong Kong-style milk tea for drinking (as well as draft brews). Here's the full menu.

The two spaces share an outdoor terrace overlooking 101 California's courtyard, which will be nice for warm days. Weekday hours for Pabu are 11:30 am-2:30 pm for weekday lunch, with the bar open straight through from 11:30-close (5:30 pm-close on weekends). Dinner hours are Sunday–Thursday, 5:30-10 pm, and Friday-Saturday, 5:30-10:30 pm. The Ramen Bar is open exclusively on weekdays, 8 am-9 pm, with coffee, tea, and pastries only until 11:30 am.

· Paul Piscopo Named Executive Chef of Pabu/The Ramen Bar [~ ESF ~]
· Pabu and The Ramen Bar Set Opening Dates [~ ESF ~]
· Michael Mina Opening Pabu and Ramen Market in FiDi [~ ESF ~]


101 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111