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What to Eat at Serendipity 3
April 7th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

Serendipity 3 is probably the tourist destination in NYC when it comes to dining, and you would think the sometimes three-hour waits would keep people who actually live here away, but . . .

Okay, actually, I don’t think anyone who lives here does go there. BUT! I love it. Its two floors are filled with the oddest vintage lamps, clocks, mirrors, paintings, and bric-a-brac, none of which matches and all of which is tacky. In December, they have a neon pink Christmas tree and lighted snowflakes as big as you are covering the walls. It’d be offensive if it wasn’t so charming.

The menu is extensive, covering everything from pastas to crepes to hot dogs to the most inventive sandwiches. When I started visiting in 2005, I would always get the Summer Bries, which is smoked turkey, sliced apples, melted brie, and alfalfa sprouts, served on raisin pumpernickel with Russian dressing. Then I started trying different things on the menu: the Chicken Pot Pie (delicious, with giant hunks of white-meat chicken), The Alamo (a spicy black bean burger that was good but looked and tasted exactly like the Morningstar Farms version you can buy in your freezer section), the Chicken Salad Sandwich (great ingredients but not NEARLY enough mayonnaise).

For the past couple of years, though, there’s only one thing I’ll order: the Young Chicken Sandwich, an open-face concoction of chicken chunks crisply sautéed in butter with almonds, served on toasted Irish Soda Bread with greens. The butter practically drips off the chicken and soaks the soda bread, which is so delicious I’d eat it as a meal on its own. The crunchiness of the chicken and almonds contrasts so well with the soft bread, and although it comes with this vinegar-based curry sauce, I always request Russian dressing instead. And you should, too.

Serendipity Young Chicken Sandwich

The whole reason for going to Serendipity, though, is the desserts. Now, the restaurant is famous for its Frozen Hot Chocolate, but let me tell you a secret: it’s not that good. It’s cold and chocolately as a frozen hot chocolate should be, but it’s extremely thin, like chocolate powder added to cold water. I want to be able to eat my desserts with a spoon, and this can be sipped from a straw and finished in ten seconds.

(You know what’s a lot better? The Frozen Hot Chocolate from Dairy Queen. No joke. It’s mixed with thick vanilla soft serve, and the chocolate sauce they add to it clings to the side of the cup for you to scrape off at the end. Plus, it’s about $6 cheaper than the Serendipity version. Unfortunately, it only seems to be available in the Midwest, which is why I make trips home to see my family in Ohio 6 to 8 times a year.)

Instead, I enjoy Serendipity’s sundaes, which are a meal in themselves at $15 but are weeeeeeeeeeeeell worth it and can be split amongst five people. The Can’t Say No Sundae with peanut butter pie, vanilla ice cream, bananas, hot fudge, and whipped cream is my favourite, but really, the Three Scoops of Ice Cream of your choice with one topping is just as impressive:

Serendipity Sundae

No matter what you order, half of it will fall off out of the sundae glass and onto the dish below. Do not be inhibited. Dig in.

Serendipity 3
225 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022 (map)


12 Responses  
  • Hungry writes:
    April 7th, 201012:49 pmat

    Hiya! Leaving a comment! Though, truly hated my experience at Serendipity 3. The food was mediocre but the service was horrible. If others had a good time, then I’m happy for them.

    Oh, and am I a douchebag since I did get my bachelor’s degree and work in finance? Though, hardly making close to 100K. But I do like sweetbreads. Love? Eh, but definitely enjoy and have ordered many times. Unless, true douchebags though, I’ve grown up to eat a lot of weird things. So sweetbreads isn’t anything weird to me. You know, being Asian and all. Hahah, stereotype away!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      April 8th, 201011:21 amat

      I’m so sad you had a bad experience at Serendipity. We always seem to get this really earnest waiter who bows at the waist when he takes our order, and the host moved us to a better table once when he heard my friend whisper about how she didn’t want to be near the kitchen, but I guess there are probably times when they’re too burdened by tourists to be able to properly take care of the people who live nearby and are likely to come back.

      You probably are not a douchebag. If you have a fake tan and carry your little dog into restaurants in your Louis bag AND order sweetbreads, I still might call you a douchebag to my friends, but you’d probably see me whispering about you and call me a douchebag, too, so we’re even.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    April 7th, 20103:49 pmat

    Clearly, you have stellar taste in sandwiches, an excellent quality in a restaurant critic.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      April 8th, 201011:24 amat

      I’m so happy that sandwiches are hot right now! Well, maybe they’re never NOT hot, but it seems like I’m seeing more written about them lately. Kamran stopped at our good friend (ha) Tom Colicchio’s sandwich den the other day and had a roast pork with red cabbage and jalapenos without me. I died.

  • Heesa Phadie writes:
    April 7th, 20107:03 pmat

    I would definitely pay you $15 on Tuesday for that Sundae today. It looks phenomenal!!!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      April 8th, 201011:42 amat

      I charge interest, so send me $17.

      If you really love yourself, though, order yourself some Graeter’s and have it shipped in dry ice. Black raspberry chip. For real.

      • Heesa Phadie writes:
        April 8th, 20101:24 pmat

        I’m not a huge fruit ice cream fan…but my lord I’ll take a gallon of their Chocolate Coconut Almond Chip :P

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          April 8th, 20105:33 pmat

          They only sell it by the pint. But I won’t tell if you order 6.

  • Ash writes:
    April 8th, 20109:16 amat

    I agree the frozen hot chocolate did not meet my expectations at all. But I do want to try that sandwich!!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      April 8th, 201012:07 pmat

      The sandwich will not disappoint. Maybe I should plan to take you there the day you come back from your honeymoon, unless I can convince you to stuff your face sometime before August.

  • donuts4dinner.com» Blog Archive » La Silhouette’s Brunch – French/American (New) – Hell’s Kitchen writes:
    March 30th, 201111:35 amat

    […] night before, we had been to Serendipity 3, arguably the most famous dessert restaurant in the city, and we thought this sundae not only stood […]

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews » Alice’s Tea Cup is Pretty Tea-y but Not So Alice-y writes:
    September 6th, 20123:09 pmat

    […] why this is a destination for out-of-towners, though, in the same way I don’t understand why Serendipity 3 is. The Alice in Wonderland theme is minimal, unless you consider adding the word […]


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