Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Foodista in Las Vegas – The Serendipity 3 Experience

Serendipity 3 - 3570 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas NV 89109

On a family vacation in Las Vegas this weekend, I found myself in a Mecca of the country’s most well known restaurants. It’s no surprise that in this glitzy, man-made world, everything is bigger, shinier and ever so exaggerated. Most of the restaurants in Las Vegas are transports of the country’s most popular eateries from NY, LA, Chicago, Miami and other major cities. It’s pretty cool to have these culinary superstars all within a walk’s radius and unlike in their native cities, they’re usually pretty easy to get into.

One good example of this is Serendipity 3, which as most of you know was founded in NYC, with its original location on 60th street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. If anyone has attempted to go there, you’ll know what a feat it is. I’ve only been once on a random weekday and even then it was nearly impossible, given this restaurant’s popularity and really tight quarters. And that’s so not the case in Las Vegas, where Serendipity 3 is huge, seating hundreds of patrons with plenty of availability to dine here whenever you please. Dan and I chose it as our very first destination in Las Vegas where we enjoyed a memorable lunch.

Located on the expansive Caesar’s Palace property, Serendipity 3 occupies its own Roman-style structure with Caesar’s bust proudly displayed on its roof. But aside from that, it’s very much in line with its NYC founder only with bigger, bolder and with brighter furnishings.

The interior is a sight to see, with oversized lamps and colorful walls and ceilings, which give you a feeling of being in a fantasy world, which only Alice in Wonderland would dare to explore. Each table is decked with a signature Tiffany lamp, an object which made the NY location so famous back in the 50’s and 60’s.

For more casual dining or just drinks, you’ll find a bar in front where impressive-looking specialty cocktails are crafted – an aspect that that original location lacks. And in addition to the interior seating, you can also enjoy your meal outside under their pink roof, which keeps you relatively protected from the hot Vegas sun.

The menu at Serendipity is pretty much in line with its original location, boasting their signature drink, the frozen hot chocolate that put this place on the culinary map. Additionally, they also serve classic American comfort foods such as burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and various noshes.

Nachos – We started with this simple, filling appetizer because we were quite hungry. Noticing the super-sized portions before we sat down, we decided to split this along with a sandwich as our main course.

Just like everything else that came from Serendipity’s kitchen, these nachos were impressive. A large rectangular dish housed these red beauties, dressed with yummy fixins such as black beans, a combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheese and ground beef. A huge tray of toppings was served separately, consisting of pretty crimped-edge glasses filled with sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole. We devoured about a half of the portion due to its large size. I’d feel very comfortable splitting this with two other people.

The Reuben Sandwich – Wow, just like the nachos, this plate was a thing of beauty with thick pieces of rye bread, sandwiching thin, smoky pieces of corned beef, sauerkraut, melted cheese and a creamy, tangy Russian dressing. Although there was just too much of the corned beef, I picked some out to make the portion more human and then proceeded to enjoy this amazing combination of warm, savory greatness. It came with a side of crispy sweet potato fries, which were a perfect way to add some sweetness to the meaty sandwich.

Frozen Hot Chocolate - Because I haven’t had this famous frozen drink in years, I couldn’t wait to order it. I’m happy to say that it was just as good as I remember it, with thick whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings on top and a rich, cold, chocolaty shake-like mixture inside. You get a fat straw (and a spoon) with it and I recommend waiting a few minutes for the ice inside to melt for a purer chocolate taste. If you’re a chocolate lover, you just can’t walk out of here without having this.

Service and Cost:
Our waitress was nice enough but not overly impressive. Because it’s Vegas and due to the high volume of customers that are accommodated each day, I found the service a tad generic and not too personal. I guess that’s what happens when you serve tourists day in and day out.

Despite this, there was nothing wrong with the service we received at Serendipity and all dishes were brought out rather quickly.

Costs are customarily high, as in all of Vegas – the goal being to get your money in any way possible.

Appetizers: $12-$16
Sandwiches/Burgers/Hot Dogs: $10 - $16.50
Desserts: $9.50 - $22.50

3 Mmmms

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