The gauzy Great Wall website does little to prepare for the real life color of this restaurant, located at 440 East Colfax Avenue. Prior to even reaching the door, patrons run a gauntlet of one of Colfax’s more interesting corners. An on-again, off-again area for crack dealing, it is also situated across the street from the Rosslyn Bar and Grill, a rough and tumble bar that fills plenty of bar stools, whether it is 7:30 AM or 7:30 PM.
Yet, the intention is food, and not the environment as it exists beyond the walls of the restaurant. Unfortunately, life inside does not differ significantly from life outside. Upon entry one is immediately confronted with the counter, with a full view of the kitchen and the myriad of ways that food can be fried.
The service is brisk, efficient, and will not be mistaken for friendly. Sodas, well as one would expect, they are not free, but I can only assume given the crowd that gravitates towards the corner at its entrance, this must stated, as well as the cost of refills.
The seating area is small and an amusing mash up of formica, padded booths and tables for two. Simple fluorescent light does little to hide the lack of cleanliness and fan blades lazily spin beneath the weight of their dusty exterior.
Back to the food, which sadly lacked the degree of flavor of either the location or the service. The chicken lo mein, usually a safe choice, was an oily pile of noodles with a minimal amount of protein or vegetables. The shrimp rolls, possessing a single shrimp amidst a bed of greasy cabbage, were not worth finishing. In search of the silver lining? The food was served fast and was cheap, meaning I did not wait long to be disappointed, nor was it costly.
This place has many fans, my friends among them, but when confronted with a food that soy sauce cannot save, I do not envision a return trip.