Serendipity 3: Not So Serendipitous

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On my last trip to Vegas, I thought it was high time I checked out Serendipity 3, the offshoot of the famous New York City restaurant located out front at Caesars Palace. Just the fact that I planned to go there completely shot the whole concept of serendipity all to hell. (Definition of serendipity: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.) I went on Labor Day, figuring it would be a good time to go, as most visitors who had been in town for the holiday weekend would be heading home and those arriving for the week may not have arrived yet. I was so, so wrong.

Serendipity 3

Serendipity 3

When I arrived at Serendipity 3, there was a looooooong line out the door of people waiting to be seated. The wait was 20 minutes, which doesn’t seem bad until you realize that you have to wait outside in the hot sun when the temperature is approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Not very serendipitous.

Luckily for me, there was one open bar stool in the corner of the counter, and I was able to snag it. (Aside: This is one of my favorite things about going solo to Las Vegas. While everyone else is waiting for a table, I can often grab that last, single seat at the bar or counter.) Finally! Some serendipity!

The bartender was cool and there was a friendly young woman sitting next to me that I chatted with for a little bit. I had a chance to look around while waiting for my food to arrive. The restaurant reminded me of a small malt shop on the Atlantic cape with its cute white chairs and tables, but it’s hard to enjoy the environment when the place is packed to the rafters and everyone is talking at once. If you can, you should try to sit outside on the terrace, but I’m guessing those seats are in high demand, meaning an even longer wait.

I appreciated how extensive and creative the menu offerings were—though I did have to turn off my “English major” brain when I saw the way they spelled “frozen” and “appetizers” with extra letters in them. The creativity of the menu is probably the biggest draw here. Things like “Don’t Be Afraid of My Alfredo,” “Don’t Drop Your Skirt Steak Fries,” and “New York Steak of Mind” tickled me no end. If only the quality of the meal I had lived up to its name.

Summer Bries Sandwich

The Summer Bries Sandwich and sweet potato fries

I ordered “A Summer Bries,” which is an open-faced sandwich with sliced turkey, sliced apple, cranberry mayo and melted brie on raisin pumpernickel bread. Sounds mouth-watering, doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t.

There was hardly any cranberry mayo, only two slices of apple, and the brie was flavorless. It was essentially a pile of turkey on bread. What a disappointment. I will say, though, that the sweet potato fries that came with it were fantastic—crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

But that’s not all. You can’t visit a restaurant and not try its most famous menu item. So I also had to order the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. (See what I mean about the spelling?). They actually have multiple flavors of the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate; I went with the classic.

The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate

The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate

Essentially, it was just a chocolate shake with mounds of whipped cream in a glass half the size of my head and disgustingly sloppy. The shake and whipped cream spilled over the rim of the glass onto a plate below—the fact that there was a plate below told me they knew it was going to be sloppy (perhaps it’s designed that way?). There was no way I could even make a dent in it, and it gave me brain freeze. The cost of the meal was pretty breathtaking, considering how mediocre it all was. ($18 for the sandwich and fries, and $11 for the shake.)

But let’s face it, I’m not really Serendipity’s target audience. I’m a fairly light eater, and a fairly healthy eater as a rule. That is not the target demographic here. They’re cooking for people who love large portion sizes and have a wicked sweet tooth. If that sounds like you, you may love this place.

Consider these desserts from their menu: The Red Velvet Sundae (chocolate ice cream, red velvet cake, hot fudge, whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles), Grasshopper Marshmallow Mint Explosion (mint chocolate chip ice cream, marshmallow sauce and hot fudge, topped with whipped cream and chocolate mints), Deep Fried Oreos and Ice Cream (deep fried Oreos, cookies and cream ice cream, hot fudge and marshmallow sauce). I could go into a diabetic coma just reading the menu.

Would I try Serendipity 3 again? Maybe. Especially if I were close by and starving or was with a friend who wanted to eat there. But with so many great restaurants in Vegas that I haven’t yet tried, it probably wouldn’t be at the top of my list.

6 thoughts on “Serendipity 3: Not So Serendipitous

  1. Butler

    I’m definitely enjoying Vegas Solo; as an occasional solo traveler and Vegas enthusiast, it hits home, and already I’ve read some really good stuff. Anyway I mention it now because I was in town fairly recently and considered eating at Serendipity 3, but I bailed because they were too busy. Actually I was at the “to go” window and it didn’t seem busy, but I was told a Caesar salad would take 20 minutes. Maybe in the mid-day heat, my mind couldn’t process the idea of waiting that long for uncooked food, at a walk-up window. I wandered inside and settled on Munchbar instead.

    Also I appreciate the chocolate shake photo – it gives me pause. Sometimes I’ll eat a larger portion, depending on my appetite, but large desserts seem particularly unnecessary. It seems like I’d get basically all the enjoyment out of it at half the size, and then we’re just adding more sugars and calories.

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog, Butler. You’re about as patient as I am when it comes to waiting at a restaurant, eh? 🙂 I hope Munchbar was good.

  2. John

    Thanks for the review, Gray. It’s fun to read about “the
    good” as well as “the not so good”. With the million choices
    Vegas has to offer; scratch that, with the “infinite” choices
    Vegas has to offer, it’s great to be able to know of a few
    to pass on by !

  3. Marko

    Thanks a lot for the review in true Gray-style. Your comments are never too harsh. What I also like is the fact that you always mention the situation you were in. A dinner experience on a busy evening is always different then on a quiet Monday for example.
    But looking at the brie sandwich makes my heart bleed.
    If you ever plan a trip to Amsterdam, I promise you the best brie sandwich you have ever tasted! Loving your blog Gray!
    BTW. I’m a trained chef! 😉

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      Thank you, Marko. I think it’s only fair to note that my experience might not be the same as someone else’s. Okay, note to self, go to Amsterdam and have Marko cook for me. 🙂

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