Our summertime infatuation with chilled soba has led us to a pair of oyaji-friendly spots on opposite ends of town. Shinshuya sits across the street from Hachiko in Dogenzaka 2-chome, among the winding alleys lined with pachinko parlors and smutty DVD shops. We’re enamored of the oyako-don combo, which costs just ¥580 and which offers a cheap and filling way to fuel a night on the town (or a trip back home to Yokohama). No frills here: Shinshuya is a stand-and-slurp kind of place, with an open layout and a communal soba-yu flask to end your meal. For a quick snack, mori soba costs just ¥250, while zaru soba topped with shredded nori is ¥280. Over in the office district of Kojimachi, Takadaya is more genteel—but not by much. The rustic-themed interior has counter seats surrounding a large central pillar, as well as nooks and crannies that afford a bit more privacy. The lunchtime combination meals are a safe bet; we tried the generous tendon, which comes with two healthy-size shrimp, flatfish, and assorted vegetables (¥880). Our side dish of soba came in a lacquer bowl that was showing signs of wear—as with its Shibuya counterpart, Takadaya is a place for eating, not looking. But the menu ranges a bit farther afield to include seafood (¥980) and chirashi zushi (¥1,280) combos, as well as proper izakaya fare in the evening. The lunch menu has weekly changing specials, with dessert, for ¥800.
Shinshuya 2-6-4 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3461-9066. Open daily 7:30am-11:30pm. Nearest stn: Shibuya. www.kumagaicorp.jp/brand/sinsyuya
Takadaya B1, 3-5 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-5276-3133. Open Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 11am-10pm, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Kojimachi, exit 1. www.takada-ya.co.jp