You might not expect to find a late-night drinking scene on the seventh floor of an office building, but we discovered a lively one in the "Home" restaurant complex in Marunouchi's Shin-Maru Biru. Soba Kichi occupies a small corner of Home, and they keep going until 4am every night but Sunday, packing in the crowds at least until the last train. Budget prices are a big part of the appeal - you can enjoy a couple of drinks and snacks here for under Y2000.
The setting is stylish, with the warm lighting and blond wood tones of the sleek central counter contrasting with the coolly lit terrace garden and the Marunouchi night sky just beyond the windows. The sake list (Y500-700 per glass) is very drinkable and tailored to match the food. You can also choose from beer, many different shochus, or several budget-level wines by the glass.
Fried foods dominate the menu, with deep-fried skewers of fish, vegetables and meats starting at just Y150 per skewer. If you want something heartier, there's a big pot of beef tendon stew bubbling away on the counter, served with garlic toast or by itself. Other snacks include grilled pork belly and kibinago (silver-stripe herring), and pork and chicken cutlets. As you might guess from the name, they offer several hot and cold soba dishes (Y650-1300). The specialty of the house is tempura-fried chicken served over a bowl of soba in a curry-flavored broth.