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Great Wall
4340 Highway 101 N.
Gearhart, OR
(503) 738-4108
Cost: $$ 20 Chinese Tea: Oolong (brewed) House

20-May-03 1
When traveling along Oregon's coast you might be tempted to pass by Great Wall in Gearhart, between Astoria and Cannon Beach, and head to a more upscale or "tourist" restaurant. Great Wall looks as if it took over a former diner or drive-in restaurant, and there is little hint from the outside of the high quality food served inside.

When I entered I was surprised to find a large selection of vegetable and tofu dishes. Although it is generally difficult to find spicy foods in the Northwest, Great Wall had a large number of Szechuan style and other spicy dishes. Probably the one weak point I found with the restaurant is that it did not serve plates made with local fish, as I had found at Hong Kong in Astoria. It did have some shrimp plates, though, including some that were Szechuan style.

The menu advertises "No MSG added," so this was one of the first signs that the quality here was above average. I thought the sauce on my dinner was equal to the one served at Hong Kong in Astoria, and the ingredients were fresh (as advertised). The lunch specials consisted primarily of the standard American favorites, so I ordered from the dinner menu in order to get vegetables. Although the lunch menu was considerably less expensive, prices for dinner items were not unreasonable considering the quality of the food.

At first I did not want to drink the house oolong tea, but always willing to try something that is free, I discovered that it was one of the best oolongs that had ever been served to me--almost as good as jasmine. In addition, they sell a selection of Chinese teas at the cash register that you can take home--the jasmine I bought was excellent.

Great Wall is one of the best hole-in-the-wall, not-well-advertised, roadside Chinese restaurants I have ever discovered. It is a great place to go on a typical Oregon rainy day, have some soup, Chinese dinner, and oolong tea, and enjoy the 1960's truck stop décor.

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