The relatively new Pabu, located in the Millennium Tower, is a modern-take on a Japanese izakaya and I was fortunate to dine there recently with a friend of mine from Japan. We opted for the Omakase, nine courses of nigiri and seafood, and it was superb, some of the best sushi I've ever enjoyed. I didn't take photos or notes of the dinner as it was an evening simply to enjoy, to spend time with my friend and his wife. However, I was thoroughly impressed with the food and am eager to return to check out more of their menu.
They also have an extensive beverage program, including Sake, Japanese Whiskey, Shochu, wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, and more. You'll find 8 Sakes by the glass ($12-$24) or carafe ($25-$49), 2 Hot Sakes by the carafe ($25-$30), and over 60 Sakes available by the bottle. It may have the largest Sake selection in the Boston-area. Bottles size ranges from from 300ml to 500ml, from 720ml ($59-$325) to 1.8 liters. The mark-up on Sake bottles seems to be roughly 2-3X retail, dependent on the specific bottle. There is an excellent diversity in the Sake selection, including a number of bottles you don't see at other Boston restaurants.
During our dinner, we ordered two bottles of Sake, both from the same kura, Kirinzan Shuzo, and it was a superb decision.
Kirinzan Shuzo was established in 1843 by Kichizaemon Saito, who was also a seller of charcoal. Initially, he named his brand Fukunoi, a term referring to the blessings of the gods as well as the natural waters of the area. Eventually, Tokuhei Saito, the 4th generation of the family, chose to abandon the charcoal business and commit fully to Sake production. He also changed the name of the company to Kirinzan, as the brewery was located near Mt. Kirin in the town of Tsugawa in the Niigata Prefecture.
The Kirin is also a mythical creature, in both Chinese and Japanese mythology, and in Japan resembles a dragon crossed with a deer, with a single horn like a unicorn. It is considered a very positive omen, a harbinger of happiness, prosperity and good luck. I'm sure Kirin-zan Sake will bring you much happiness.
The Sake brewery is now located in the town of Aga, as eventually Tsugawa merged with another town and two villages. They rely on local ingredients, from their rice to their water, and their motto is "Brand sake begins with individuals working in harmony."
The Kirin-Zan Junmai Daiginjo ($189/720ml at Pabu & about $80 retail) comes in a cool pentagonal blue bottle. With a Sake Meter Value of +3 and Acidity of 1.3, it is made from Gohyaku-mangoku rice that has been polished down to 45%. This is a superb Sake, elegant and complex, with such an alluring taste. It is clean and bright, with subtle citrus notes, some peach and melon, and a lengthy, pleasing finish. It is said to be "reminiscent of a clean mountain stream," and it possesses such a sense of purity, a Sake that paired perfectly with the nigiri. This is a Sake which impresses and I highly recommend it.
Check out Pabu and be sure to drink some Sake!