Saturday, March 7, 2009

Restaurant Review: Serendipity 3

Getting DH to go to Manhattan, just to "walk around", is like taking your typical 5-year-old to school when they don't want to go! Let's just say there's a lot of sulking, pouting and grumbling - stopping just short of a tantrum. He's not the kind who is entertained by the type of aimless wandering that I tend to do when I'm in NYC. Then he starts thinking about the driving, the traffic, the lack of parking ... *sigh*. It's my lot in life, dear readers. And I'm actually fine with it on most days, because I've learnt that if I really want to explore my beloved city, I have to do it on my own. Those are the days when I feel like Lewis and Clark, discovering new frontiers! Of course, Manhattan is not a new frontier, but everytime I visit it, I learn something new about it, discover a path I'd not gone down before, see sights that fill me with fascination and excitement. The feeling I get when I'm simply walking around Manhattan is very personal, but intensely fulfilling.

There is one thing that I find hard to do in the city if I'm just on my own - and that's trying new restaurants. Sure I can always check out new cafes, dessert places, bakeries etc. But to really experience a proper restaurant, you must go there with company. Part of enjoying the ambience of a restaurant is to have someone there you can share it with. Plus, you get to taste not just your own food, but also what the other person ordered! Selfish, but true.

Serendipity 3 (close to Bloomingdale's on the Upper East Side) has been on my list of must-try-at-least-once restaurants for a long time. I finally got the chance to go there for Saturday brunch recently with DH and two other guests. We got there 5 mins before they actually opened the restaurant, and there was already a line-up outside the door! Luckily, it wasn't too long and we were able to be seated as soon as the restaurant opened their doors. It was a lot smaller than I had imagined, but really cute and quaint! It's crammed with knick-knacks of all sorts ... tchotchkes out the wazoo! There's a lot of pink, a lot of Victorian-inspired furniture, some really bizarre pieces and definitely in the area of over-stuffed shabby-chic.

Our menus were gigantic - I think they take the prize for "largest menu card"! Think window-size! Our waiter was very sweet, and I had no issues with him, but I did think the overall service was a tad rushed. And let me just get this off my chest right away. That Frrrozen Hot Chocolate thingy this place is so famous for - not that impressive. It's more hype than anything else I think. 'Tis only my humble opinion, but there it is (the gods of New York will probably strike me dead with lightning for this!). I also ordered their Serendipitous Hot Chocolate, and it wasn't even hot! And the whipped cream guy went a little crazy - more cream than anything else. And having orange zest in your hot chocolate is a wonderful thing, but not if it's just on the whipped cream - that does nothing for the taste.
Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. This baby was bigger than my head! Not bad, but not great either.

The rest of the meal was pretty good. We ordered four different dishes, and three out of four were yum. The only one that went down in flames was the cheese ravioli (not pictured here - it was so sad looking that I just couldn't bear to show it to you!) which was dry and bland. Our other dishes were all winners. Here they are in order of my favorites:
Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries and Apricot Preserves - tastes exactly how you'd expect it to taste.

DH loved this Crepe with Creamed Chicken. It was scrumdiddlyumptious! Tasted a bit like chicken pot pie - and who doesn't love that?!

Finally, my favorite dish - Chili Omelette. Those southern flavors (chili, red onions, sour cream, toasted cornbread) are a great way to start the weekend morning right!

Verdict: Would I go there again? Yes! I enjoyed the experience overall. The noise level wasn't insane, so we could have a conversation in a normal tone of voice. Also, the check didn't damage our wallet too much. And definitely will be there before the restaurant opens at 11am on the weekend, because as we were leaving the line had gotten a lot longer, and so had the wait. Won't bother with the hot chocolate again, but will experiment more with the menu which had some interesting (albeit retro, but that's the whole point of this place) choices other than the brunch items, and all reasonably priced between $4 - $23. UNLESS you want to order the Guinness world-record-holding 'Golden Opulence Sundae' which will cost you a pretty $1000. No, that's not a typo.


Varsha Vipins said...

well well..join the club..nothing excites me more than wandering n exploring..:)
I'd love to go to this place..I mean I loved the interiors..Also drooling over that crepe..:P
Btw,did u try my Biriyani yet?
Happy sunday!!

Anonymous said...

What lovely food!! MMMM....

Sara said...

I've always wanted to eat here, I've heard so much about that hot chocolate. The food looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

I would love a taste of that french toast and the crepes - they look wonderful!

lubnakarim06 said...

Wow heavenly delights......Yum.....First time here....You have very yum blog....Love the spicy chilli omelette....

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