just wanted to share my experience with great wall last night. as it seems the most consistently praised joint in the northampton area, i thought i'd give it a whirl.
ambiance: cozy. very casual, family-friendly with booths and big round lazy-susan tables. obligatory fish tank. family photos adorn the walls along with asian-themed art. nice natural light and a pretty hopping vibe for a monday night. seemed to be a husband/wife and daughter working- all of whom were very pleasant and attentive.
food: hot and sour soup arrived and looked somewhat milky-yellow, like egg drop. not visually appealing, looked as if it would be eggy and salty. surprisingly, it had the same vinegary, spicy punch that more reddish-brown hot and sours have. chunks of fresh veggies and tofu hidden underneath. excellent albeit not the most attractive dish. scallion pancake was perfectly crisp, bursting with fresh scallion earthiness. dipping sauce was a good, tart foil. the stuffed tofu dish was enough for two, the akai rice on the side was a must. i imagined tofu sliced and stuffed, but the chicken and shrimp was more integrated into the actual curd, which allowed the fat and flavor of the meats to soak into the tofu. unique experience.. not overly sauced which is a big plus for me.. served over crisp, fresh sauteed baby bok choy. i felt satisfied and not painfully full or grease-soaked as i do after inferior chinese. the jasmine tea was on the weaker side, and perhaps the only more conventional chinese restaurant detail of the great wall eating experience.
overall.. i usually don't crave chinese, unless i'm hungover or otherwise in need of shit food. with a more subtle, fresh-ingredient, and overall lighter chinese meal under my belt, i can already feel that great wall might become a go-to chow choice when in the area.