Name: Far East Chinese Restaurant
Location: 117 N Main St., Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 785-8811
Price: Most lunch entrees under $5, dinner entrees under $10
Today I was hungry for some Chinese food for lunch, but my usual Chinese place of choice, Moon Star, is not open on Tuesdays. I recalled a conversation I recently had with a colleague of mine, who commented that her favorite Chinese place in the area was Far East in Vestal. My immediate reaction was "Really?!?" After all, I used to live near the Four Corners location of Far East and I got take-out there once. Once, as it turned out, was enough for me to conclude that it was below-average. But I had not been there since they remodeled a couple of years ago, so I was willing to give it another chance.
Far East is located in the tiniest strip mall I've ever seen, with only two store-fronts. To the left lies Far East, to the right is a store under construction with a sign in the window promising an "Asian/Fusion Restaurant Coming Soon." Now we're talking...and that is something I will be keeping an eye on! But anyway, I arrived at Far East around 1:00 PM and ordered the Chicken with Garlic Sauce Lunch Special ($4.45). The "special" comes with your choice of fried rice or white rice and if you want, you can add Egg Drop or Wonton soup for $1. I wanted the Hot & Sour soup, which my colleague had recommended, so I ponied up an additional $1.99 for that.
As I said, this is a new building for Far East--and hence I was surprised by how dirty it was. The floor was filthy and in need of a major scrubbing. There was garbage (used napkins, straw wrappers, etc.) underneath some of the tables. I don't know if this was the result of falling behind after the lunch crowd hit, but I doubt it. Needless to say, I was left unimpressed by the ambiance. It didn't help that a foul-smelling obese woman came in right after I did and decided to hover in my general vicinity. I was left to hope the food would make up for this series of unfortunate events.
Upon arriving home I unpacked the goods and found healthy portions of both the entree and the soup. I decided to try the soup first and I thought it was quite good. This Hot & Sour soup was loaded with ingredients and definitely lived up to the "Hot" part of its name. It was a little heavier on the tofu and a little lighter on the pork than I prefer, but I liked it. As far as the Chicken with Garlic Sauce, I did not like it. At all. The chicken was rubbery and the sauce was bland. The rice did not help matters...it was the typical Chinese take-out rice and way inferior in quality and taste to the fried rice at both Foliage and Moon Star.
Overall, I was largely dissatisfied with Far East. The soup was a definite highlight, and the service was quick and friendly, but the cleanliness of the establishment was a bit bothersome and the entree was pretty much a failure. Skip this place...there are a couple places (namely Moon Star and Foliage) not too far to the east that are more worthy of your business.