Entering Hayashi-Ya is like you are coming to a place in Japan. In fact, their website says that the owner decorated the place to look like a little Japanese village. The wait staff may greet you by saying”“I-ra-sai-ma-se!” which means “welcome” as you come in the front door. Hayashi-Ya is located in the old Chicago Uno building in Brier Creek (North Raleigh). It is owned by Chang Park, who used to own the Hayashi restaurant in Wake Forest. He sold that restaurant to start this one which is much larger than his old place.
Mr. Park makes this place a success because he is so friendly and generous. He has special chop sticks waiting for Chris, because Chris has become a regular. He keeps an eye on his staff and greets many of the customers himself. This is true customer service, because people remember places where they get the red carpet treatment like this.
Several of the tables are sunken into the floor. It takes a little bit of balance to get in and out of your seat, but adds to the Japanese experience. When I came to this restaurant, I was meeting my old friend, Chris, who has become friends with Chang Park. While we were catching up, we ordered an appetizer of edamame, the fresh soy beans that are steamed and salted. They are a great beginning to any meal.
Before we finished the edamame, we were treated to a special salad made with seaweed, fresh greens, daikon, cucumber and a mix of various seafood, including small octopus, shrimp, calamari and clams. It was topped with a wonderful ginger salad dressing and (I think) some parmesan cheese.
I decided to try the vegetable hibachi, which was a mix of vegetables including bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, peas and squash that were sautéed in a teriyaki sauce with a side of brown rice and a cup of miso soup. It was very tasty dish and was not too salty, which sometimes these dishes can be. It also came with a side of two sauces, both of which were good, but I felt the dish had enough flavor without the additional sauces.
My friend had two kinds of sushi, the spicy tuna and the spider roll. He loved both of them. Chris is a bit more adventurous than I am in the sushi department. I like sushi, but am usually a California roll kind of gal.
We thought we were done, and were quite full and content, when a complimentary dessert arrived at our table. It was a green tea ice cream that was surrounded by some kind of encasement we think was made of corn starch and a drizzling of chocolate sauce, topped with a little bit of whipped cream. Of course, neither one of us could resist trying it and ended up eating the whole thing!
Hayashi-Ya is located in the Brier Creek Shopping Center at 8401 Brier Creek Pkwy. It is open for Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 to 2:00, Sat – Sun 1:00 to 5:00 and Dinner Mon-Thr, Sun 5:30 to 10:00, Fri – Sat 5:30 to 10:30.