Northeast Tallahassee is home to several small Chinese restaurants that focus on lunch and dinner take-out. The most recent to open its doors is Hayashi, which set up shop in the spot formerly occupied by T.F. Wok, at 4500 W. Shannon Lakes Drive. I was sad to see T.F. Wok close since they offered a decent chicken and black bean lunch combination.
With the exception of new signage, the exterior of the restaurant is identical to the former tenant. Opening the plate glass door, however, revealed a more spartan interior than its predecessor. The old linoleum counter was replaced with one made from bead board. It was sloppily painted brown and full of nicks. The walls were covered with white painted bead board and streaked with black marks. The cooler near the front was almost empty. Adding to the depressing space was the oppressive heat. I was sweating and noted it was cooler outside than in the restaurant.
The girl behind the counter looked annoyed that I had interrupted her reading. She asked what I wanted to order as I flipped through the menu. I asked why T.F. Wok closed, and she indicated the new owner had bought the restaurant and renamed it. She noted they kept the same menu, sauce recipes and added Japanese food including sushi. I looked for the chicken and black bean lunch special and was saddened to hear they were out of black bean sauce. In its place, I settled on the Szechuan Chicken lunch special.
I waited for my meal to be prepared sitting at a small table while fanning myself with a paper menu. After a short wait the cook appeared from around the back with a plastic bag containing the same circular aluminum containers used by T.F. Wok.
When I arrived back at the office I opened the container and observed pieces of chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, carrots, and pea pods in a thick reddish brown sauce. The sauce was viscous and clung to the pieces of meat and vegetables. Despite being advertised as spicy the dish trended more towards the sweet and had an off flavor. The vegetables were not overly cooked, which was a plus. The rice however was dry and crumbled as I attempted to put it onto my chopstick. It was flavorless and I left the majority of it in the container. The egg roll was of the pre-frozen variety and full of limp overcooked vegetables. Hayashi is a downgrade from T.F. Wok and I would not go back.
Hayashi can be found online at hayashilin.com* and contacted by telephone at (850) 893-5336. The restaurant is open Monday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
*The food displayed on the website looks like nothing I saw come out of the kitchen.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: