Monday, May 27, 2013

Serendipity 3

The original Serendipity 3 is located in Manhattan's upper east side in New York and has been featured in several films, most noticeably in the 2001 romantic comedy "Serendipity". Remember how the couple shares dessert at the restaurant after coincidentally meeting earlier that day? Awww. The restaurant was named after the three princes of the island Serendip (now Sri Lanka), even though the definition of serendipity plays a significant role as well: "The art of finding the pleasantly unexpected by chance or sagacity". 

Its Georgetown location was opened not too long ago on Memorial Day 2011, and while the ambiance is slightly less intimate and cozy than what is portrayed on pictures of the NY restaurant, its interior is clearly inspired by the original, with playful details, colorful glass lamps and a giant Abraham Lincoln wall sculpture by the entrance.

Serendipity's specialty is the "frrrozen hot chocolate". Google it and you will find hundreds of pictures, recipes, magazine articles and even a book called "Sweet Serendipity". Believe it or not, the last time I was there I was not aware of this and ordered something savory. The Tex-Mex Mucho Macho Salad made history in my book as the unhealthiest and heaviest salad I have ever had. Lesson learned: Come here only for dessert. If I over-indulge, I want it to be in something sweet.

The restaurant holds the Guinness book world record for the most expensive dessert, the $1,000 Golden Opulence. No, this does not include fancy give-aways. It is an edible, and therefore short-lived expensive pleasure. This is something I would have expected from a place in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. And I could imagine that it would be a lot more popular over there, too! Here is a video of how they make it. Beautiful. And it includes a small dish of dessert caviar, infused with passion fruit, orange and Armagnac. Who knew such a thing even existed?

Ok I am getting off-topic here. Obviously my friend and I are cost-conscious students (sounds better than "poor") and, if we actually had the money, would be better off buying a cupcake each day for a year than spend it on one dessert. Today, we therefore went with a Black 'N White sundae and a regular frozen hot chocolate. They offer many varieties of the frozen hot chocolate, including peanut butter, white chocolate, and Oreo, but since I had never tried it before I thought that the classic should be my first. What intrigued my friend about the Black 'N White sundae was the promise of a "tuxedo strawberry". It got her so excited, I think they could have brought out the worst-tasting ice cream of all time and she would have still been delighted as long as the strawberry looked cute. 

Luckily, the ice cream wasn't horrible, and the strawberry really did look cute. My friend is a self-proclaimed chocolate ice cream snob, and was very happy about the flavor of her sundae. Given the quirky decor and Alice-in-Wonderland-type atmosphere in the restaurant, I expected a more extravagant presentation though. Apart from the tuxedo strawberry, it looked like something I could have created at home: Chocolate and vanilla ice cream thrown together with lots of whipped cream, white and dark chocolate fudge and marshmallow cream. There's a lot of "cream" in this description, which can only mean one thing. When you come here, don't even start counting calories. It will do you no good. You are either in, or you're out. Needless to say, we were in 100 percent.

My frozen hot chocolate tasted exactly like my friend's chocolate ice cream; it was simply a little more liquid. Topped with a generous amount of whipped cream and chocolate shards, it was served in a huge glass bowl and could have easily satisfied two people. I hadn't had lunch though, so this was an entire meal for me. According to Oprah, the frozen hot chocolate consist of nothing more than small, melted pieces of chocolate, hot chocolate mix, sugar, milk and whipped cream. And if Oprah says she got the recipe from the restaurant itself, then who am I not to believe her? It is really quite sweet and I could taste that it was made from a hot chocolate mix rather than rich dark chocolate. This surely isn't everyone's favorite. In my family, for example, regular hot chocolate mix is banned from the house and all we drink on cold winter nights are good-quality dark chocolate flakes melted in whole milk. My mum's motto is: If you do it, do it right!

Yeah... I guess Serendipity's frozen hot chocolate doesn't really compete with the hot chocolate drinks I am used to and those I have had in places like Paris, Vienna, or, just recently, Barcelona. But what makes it special is the ambiance of the restaurant you enjoy it in, the fact that people travel far to try this signature item, and the challenge of finishing one all by yourself. - The waiter actually wished us "Good Luck" when he served our order. Don't question our passion for dessert; of course we finished it all!

The service was prompt and neither remarkably friendly nor unfriendly. They gave us nice bar seats, offered us iced water, took our order, brought the food within a very short time frame... and flirted with my friend. Ignoring the fact that this guy spoke to her as if I was not even present I guess you could say that it made for a personalized experience.

Brownie Points for the frozen hot chocolate: 2 out of 3
Brownie Points for the Black 'N White sundae: 1 out of 3

Serendipity 3 on Urbanspoon


  1. I just found your blog through Urbanspoon and I love it!! You have a new reader and fan :)
    Thanks so much for liking Better Than Ramen! It means a lot to me!
    -Ana (from BTR)

  2. Ana, thank you for your comment. I am so happy to hear that! I love reading your blog! Always good to get some inspiration :)