1141 Walker Road
Great Falls, VA 22066
CUISINE Russian/E. European, French
PRICE $$$ ($21-$30)
HOURS Open for lunch, Tuesday through Friday, dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
NVM AWARDS Best Restaurant 2006
Best Restaurant 2007
Best Restaurant 2008
Best Restaurant 2009
NEARBY METRO None
By Warren Rojas
Food: 7.7 Ambiance: 7.6 Service: 7.3
Where others might waver, Serbian Crown remains firmly planted in tradition—keeping its clients content with ample servings of the time-honored cuisine that once thrilled European kings and Russian czars.
The kitchen respectfully abides by the constructs of Continental dining (mixed proteins are dutifully flanked by starches and steamed vegetables, wild game trumps sustainable sources every day of the week), but does so with enduring passion and carefully honed skill.
A purse of pungent salmon roe is masterfully folded into onion-and herb-spike eggs, producing a high-test omelet with briny pizzazz (the breakfast of champions).
Boneless medallions of sour cream-soaked rabbit provide maximum enjoyment of the fleet-footed, forest dweller (my favorite game, played to perfection).
The garlic butter packed into the center of a generously proportioned chicken breast yields intensely perfumed meat awash in fat and unparalleled flavor (a hallmark of Gallic cooking).
And if the meal happens to dawdle longer than expected—the waits continue to be an issue, as staff continues to dwindle—just order up a Moscow mule and sip the tangy-tart refresher (a happy marriage of lime vodka and ginger beer) until the food arrives.(November 2008)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 7.4 Ambiance: 7.5 Service: 7.1
Showmanship remains the Serbian Crown’s saving grace, a bastion of continental cuisine and exotic game.
Proprietor Rene Bertagna remains intimately connected to his restaurant, greeting guests with a welcoming smile and playful entreaties to become better versed in the pleasures of chilled vodka (the bar stocks a dizzying array of top-shelf spirits).
Reduced traffic seems to have forced staff reductions at lunch, an ill-advised move given the need for expediency if one wishes to take full advantage of the three- and four-course prix-fixe deals ($19.95 and $29.95, respectively; feature many of their greatest hits, including zesty cevapcici, tasty zakuska, stuffed cabbage and wild boar).
Eastern-European staples (chicken kiev) and gourmet meats (antelope, rabbit) work best, as these dishes allow the kitchen to show off a bit.
Roast swordfish is enveloped in butter and lemony béarnaise. Veal scallopine is better, delivering tender filets drenched in sour cream and mushrooms.(December 2007)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.3 Ambiance: 7.9 Service: 7.4
As time marches on, so does the Serbian Crown, a throwback establishment characterized by its enduring grandeur and affinity for theatrics.
An Eastern European stronghold perhaps best known for its long-running gypsy dancing shows and strict allegiance to Franco-Russian cuisine, the Crown delights newcomers and regulars alike with tableside productions—deftly prepared Dover sole and freshly mixed beef tartare always raise a few eyebrows, while baked Alaska typically elicits gasps of delight—that are as amusing to behold as they are delicious.
Those with deep pockets can nibble on closely guarded servings of Ocetra and Beluga caviar. The rest of us can sneak a taste of the good life via no-less-pleasing red caviar mixed into sour cream-topped oysters (a regal, raw seafood delight). The aforementioned tartare combines pink-as-can-be ground beef with ground black pepper, onions, capers, flavored oil and raw eggs into a daredevil treat worthy of its namesake Asian invaders. Wild game selections don’t always hit (sauteed emu disappears into a too-strong green peppercorn sauce), but the ones that do are truly memorable (lion, anyone?). Other seasonal favorites include port-braised antelope (firm meat flush with flavor), Madeira-spiked wild boar (a solo feast par excellence) and savory venison creations.
Assorted wines are readily available. But with nearly two dozen name-brand vodkas and a rainbow of flavored varieties to choose from, logic dictates these meals go down with some of Russia’s frostiest spirits.(August 2006)
By Warren Rojas
F 8.1 A 7.7 S 7.1
A nocturnal trip to the Serbian Crown-a longstanding dining mecca with a flair for the dramatic-virtually guarantees an evening of high-energy entertainment and exotic cuisine.
Twirling gypsy dancers put a Russian stamp on regular happy hour, while a slew of elaborate desserts-including cherries jubilee, peach flambé or the crowd-pleasing baked Alaska-bid dinner patrons a fiery farewell. Czarist portraits frame a traditional dining room that spills out into an inviting sunroom, while the restaurant's coat of arms hangs prominently in the often raucous piano bar.
Specialty deals abound, including an expedited four-course lunch offering ($17 for soup, appetizer, your choice of entree and a dessert) as well as semi-flexible five-course dinner programs for individuals and couples ($36 and $109, respectively). A satisfying plate of Russian hors d'oeuvres (zakuska) summons a mix of cured meats, smoked fish and pickled mushrooms. An order of wild boar yields juicy medallions of pork in savory brown gravy spiked with Madeira wine. Other traditional dishes includes beef stroganoff, sultry chicken Kiev, boneless rabbit in a sour cream sauce and grilled salmon. À la carte diners can also splurge on imported caviars.