Though many people tend to dismiss Nobu—saying it's all about the scene and no longer about the food—I have a long-standing relationship with this Squid Pasta Bowl ($20). It falls in the category of Nobu's lunch specials, inconspicuously tucked among an assortment of lunchtime donburis (rice bowls), and accompanied by your choice of miso soup or a salad. I always opt for the former, especially in cool weather. It's the ideal warm-up to this deep bowl filled to the brim with meaty, fresh cuts of squid, all given a slight char. It's crisp, appropriately salted and nestled over a steaming portion of rice. The vegetables are no afterthought, and could be featured as a side dish of their own. I counted sweet carrots, eggplant, zucchini, and baby corn, all lightly fried with a bright, but not heavy soy-based sauce. The best is when the salty-sweet sauce seeps all the way to the bottom of the rice bowl. Give it a little stir with your chopsticks, then spoon it right up.
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