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Great Wall Restaurant, Route 1, Mt. Vernon


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Great Wall Restaurant, Route 1, Mt. Vernon

Wayne Keyser | Dec 22, 2005 12:51 AM

Lunched yesterday at the "Great Wall Korean Japanese Chinese Restaurant", 7324 Richmond Hwy (Hybla Valley area), driven by the utter lack of worthwhile places in the area and my occasional yen to explore unlikely hole-in-the-wall eateries.

If the name didn't frighten me off, the memory might have - the building was once a Red Barn burger joint where I came close to punching out the manager in 1973.

Is it "chowish"? ... I don't think so, but I will definitely go back.

Small crowd for a late lunch (2pm) but about half Korean customers (good sign). Owner falling all over himself to open the door and ease my way in (could be a good sign, could be desperation - turned out to be a good sign.) Lunch buffet $8.99 with about 16 Korean entrees (plus fried rice and General Tso Chicken) and 10 or 12 kinds of roll sushi being made behind the counter (good sign, especially when still being made fresh at that hour) and 2 kinds of kimchi.

I'm not familiar with Korean entrees, but among those I tried were a nice fish fillet seasoned like kimchi, chilled glass noodles, warm wheat noodles (all good) and against my better judgement the General Cho (shoulda listened to my instinct).

I found the sushi better than the usual Koream sushi - rice nicely seasoned, a creative hand with a limited array of ingredients (the tiny dab of Sriracha hot sauce on top of one of the fich-filled rolls was fun), the slivered carrot filling also sweetly-marinated (certainly a sign of more than usual care in Korean sushi), the fillings mostly various combinations of salmon, carrot, cucumber, yellow daikon pickle, omelet.

The Koreans in the house were all ordering from an extensive menu, which included the usual array of hot pot and table-barbecue dishes (none were seen while I was there) plus a good number of noodle dishes, "relish dishes" and other entrees. I plan to try the "cod fish and vegetable spicy soup" and one of several "korean style pancake" dishes and maybe I can find out what the noodles were that the table behind me were having.

Am I describing an unpreposessing hole-in-the-wall? Yes. Is it really special? I don't have the background to evaluate, but I'm gonna go back (especially since I have to be in that area more these days).

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