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Oct 24, 2007 11:01 AM

Serenity in Vienna--does anyone read Chinese?

We stumbled into Serenity last night, intrigued by the Chinese on their street sign. They have a Chinese menu, but it isn't translated. The English menu looks mostly like your typical Chinese place serving a primarily non-Chinese clientele, but we had a lightly fried homestyle tofu (not ma po) dish and a sliced hot green pepper and pork dish that indicated some far more authentic talent in the kitchen. If someone here reads Chinese, the place is worth further investigation.

Serenity is located in the little strip next to the Safeway that houses several other restaurants and a coffeehouse/live music venue.

I think they're newish. A lot of their dishes are from some defunct "House of Hunan."

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  1. for point of reference, is that coffeehouse/live music place Jammin Java?

    1 Reply
    1. Hi, I read and speak Chinese, but am unfamiliar with Vienna. Could you give more specific directions? I'd love to find another good Chinese place. I live in Arlington so it might be a bit far for me, but if it turns out to be good its worth the trip. Also, I like to find out where the chef and owners are from so I only order that cuisine!

      2 Replies
      1. re: geling

        "authentic Taiwanese cuisines that you will never find anywhere else in the area" touts their website.

        1. re: PollyG

          The "about us" page on Serenity's web site still emphasizes the restaurant's authenticity, mentioning its "new full time Taiwanese certified chef." However, the restaurant sure is pushing a different approach with the take-out flier they mailed recently. The front cover has the slogan "An Alternative Asian Dining Experience" and the list of the Taiwanese chef's specialties includes Pad Thai, Malyasian Penang Chicken or Beef. The list of appetizers includes the particularly Americanized dish, Crab Rangoon.

          Incidentally, the Pad Thai earns a spicy symbol on the menu. Does this mean the restaurant is mixing in the chili pepper flakes in the kitchen or the standard Pad Thai version fits their definition of spicy?

      2. I can only read some Chinese--not usually so much along the food stuff unless its to tell you chicken, beef, pork...but my bf and I stopped by to check out Serenity yesterday for lunch. I remember going there when it used to be "house of mandarin" when i lived in Vienna, VA.

        The people were super nice despite the fact we couldnt read the chinese menu but wanted to order from that, the manager gave us some ideas of the special items and we got a fish soup, five spiced sliced beef appetizer and an order of fried pepper salt pork chops. They were all tasty and very delicious--I asked about when they may finally have the chinese menu converted to english and he said to hope for that in about 2 weeks or so, so Im really hoping they do as there arent many lunch options in the Tysons/Vienna area for authentic chinese really and we'd really love to come back and explore more items next time.

        1. I stopped by Serenity last night to investigate, not to eat; there is still no English version of the Chinese menu, but the woman I spoke to said she'd be happy to translate. I thought her English was pretty good, but now I'm confused, I pointed to the Chinese menu and asked her "is this Sichuan"? (forgetting the details of this thread) and she said yes. maybe she didn't really understand me? is it Taiwanese or Sichuan?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jamie D

            Taiwan does not some fairly unique dishes but many Taiwanese also cook Sichuan dishes. Their interpretation of Sichuan dishes are different from the authentic Sichuan dishes. As for Serenity, slow service and inconsistent quality.

          2. I went to Serenity last night. It is a bit of a hole... and quite empty. I'll be (pleasantly) surprised if they can survive unless things really pick up.
            But the food is quite good and I went with 2 chinese families (from Taiwan and China).

            The Tawianese dishes are excellent -- the beef noodle soup & "3 cup fish" were great. They do also do Sichuan food -- but its not as good the other local Sichuan places (China Star, Sichuan Village, Peking Village, HongKong Palace), based on their "water cooked beef". It wasn't bad, but it wasn't authentic -- they seemed to be missing the Sichuan peppercorns... the "ma" flavor.

            This place has no decor -- it kind of felt like eating in someone's home (especially as there were no other customers). But the staff was very nice & helpful. And the food was great.
            Its really great to have another good chinese restaurant option in western NOVA. I hope they find a following and stick.