When I visited New York City for the first time in my adult life, I was 18 and it was just before Christmas. On day one, I made my poor, miserable boyfriend stand outside in the cold and wait two and a half hours to brunch at the famous Serendipity. For more than an hour of this time, I was inside Bloomingdales up the road overloading my parent’s credit card. Then, after Serendipity, I dragged him to Central Park for ice skating, a carriage ride, on to FAO Schwarz where I demanded a teddy bear, and then to Tavern on the Green.
Yes, I was a monster.
Honestly, I remember very little about Serendipity other than the frozen hot chocolate and our smiling faces as we shared said hot chocolate with two straws. It was adorable.
When Serendipity 3 opened here in Washington, I was equal parts nostalgic and repelled by what I’m sure would inevitably become a tourist trap. Nonetheless, I was dying to go. So, when they invited us in for brunch, I brought my two of my dearest friends, who have both lived in New York on-and-off over the past several years.
Says regular guest Bitch Maggie, who is both artist and designer: “I’ve dined at Serendipity in New York countless times. It’s always an agreeable experience with its cutesy atmosphere and over-the-top desserts. (That is, if you don’t have to wait in line for hours.) Expect to find the same here. While the space isn’t as cozy as the New York location, it feels much lighter and airier. The interior style and furnishings are similar in design.”
On this occasion, Serendipity was even more festive, as it was the day before Halloween. The cheery, friendly servers were in costume and the entire restaurant was decked out with cobwebs, streamers and Halloween decor. Despite our hangovers, it was difficult not to be smiling and happy.
Our server was excellent—pleasant, attentive, considerate and informed.
We began with rounds of water, coffee and orange juice. Lauren says, “The coffee (just regular ole’ coffee) was really good. It was spiced, hot and delicious. I drank about a million cups of it while we were sitting there; it was just comforting and enjoyable.”
We couldn’t resist the bread basket, so we gave in after some convincing from our server. Says Maggie, “The fresh croissants were the highlight of the meal. They come in the bread basket, which also contains homemade biscuits and cinnamon buns—a little something for both the sweet and savory fans.”
Lauren agrees, saying, “The bread was by far the best part of the meal. The cinnamon rolls were perfectly gooey, but my favorite was the croissant, because it was hot and super buttery. (Personally, I craved those cinnamon rolls for days).
Maggie ordered the shrimp and asparagus egg-white frittata, topped with a bed of greens. She says, “The plating was creative, though I would have preferred my greens on the side as they did not sit well on top of the dish. I was disappointed in the lack of flavor—no spices or herbs, just plainly grilled shrimp and asparagus baked in egg whites. But, the ingredients were fresh, and it was a healthy option nonetheless.”
Lauren was thrilled when she saw chicken and waffles on the menu, but was slightly disappointed when they arrived: “The chicken and waffles were alright, but I wouldn’t recommend them as the best menu option. The waffle part of the dish was fine, it tasted like a waffle. However, the chicken was completely under-seasoned.”
“I didn’t eat it because I wasn’t all that excited to waste the calories on not-so-delicious fried chicken. The whole point of that dish is to have both sweet and salty flavor profiles, and overall it missed the mark because it lacked salt and spice.”
I was the most pleased with my entree, the mushroom and caramelized onion quiche, which also came topped with mixed greens. The quiche crust was light, fluffy and warm, and the caramelized onions and mushrooms had loads of flavor. The dishes are enormous, so I couldn’t finish the dish—but I certainly did try.
We ended with the infamous hot chocolate, which comes in a host of flavors, but we opted for the steadfast-and-delicious traditional.
“Of course, a trip to Serendipity would not be complete without their signature frozen hot chocolate. Be sure to share with another friend or two. Yum!” says Maggie. I agree with that—just don’t make your boyfriend wait in the cold for hours to get one.
The Bitches say: B+. Serendipity is a great place for dessert and carbs, tourists, celebrations and out-of-town guests. But, discerning foodies may want more flavor.
3150 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007