Ser-en-dip-i-ty (n): the art of making happy discoveries, or finding the unexpectedly pleasant by chance or sagacity
I admit that I have, on several occasions, creepily peered into the windows of Serendipity while passing by. I was in awe of the magically tacky, mushroom-like stained glass chandeliers suspended from the ceilings. I imagined Serendipity as a snow globe containing Alice’s Wonderland: a different world where things come in strange sizes and nothing has to make sense.
Take for example the giant clocks dispersed throughout the restaurant that are plus or minus 3 hours and 20 minutes off. Or the enormous out-of-place Mobilgas Pegasus hanging on the wall amid a sea of floral Tiffany chandeliers. Or even the Abe Lincoln holding Serendipity’s signature “Frrrozen” Hot Chocolate that greets you at the door.
The mammoth golden spoon advertising the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae takes the theme absurdity to the menu. The servings are huge. Come after fasting, or bring a friend to help you.
Entrees: Asian Chicken Salad and Thai Beef Salad
For dinner, I got the Asian Chicken Salad ($15ish). It had a green and purple cabbage base, grilled chicken, crispy wontons, candied almonds and honey soy ginger dressing. It was all served in a wonton bowl. I even got a fortune cookie on the side!
I usually don’t like getting salads when I go out to eat because I worry they’ll be fulfilling. This salad was anything but that. The chicken was soft and grilled to perfection and the rest of the salad was so satisfyingly crunchy. The honey soy ginger dressing was sticky and sweet. The wonton bowl was fun to dip into the extra dressing they give you. Eating with chopsticks made the meal for fun and “authentic” (totally joking about the latter). It was all very delicious and filling.
My fortune read: “ Where there is will, there is way ” They left out a few articles, but it was cute.
My boyfriend got the Thai Beef Salad ($16ish), which was somewhat similar to my salad because it was also cabbage based. However, it came in a very photogenic coconut shell and was topped with steak, jalapenos, tomatoes, pickles and toasted peanut dressing. It was tasty, but we couldn’t figure out what to do with the coconut…
To be honest, I came to Serendipity for the dessert. I wasn’t expecting anything from the “serious food” (as they call it) so I was pleasantly surprised.
Dessert: Outrageous Banana Split
For dessert we shared the Outrageous Banana Split ($19). We should have brought three friends with us to help eat this thing. This banana split lived up to its name. It was outrageous in size. The dessert was served in a goblet the height of my outstretched hand. It consisted of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream, two whole bananas, whipped cream, hot fudge, caramel and maraschino cherries. It really wasn’t the quality of the ingredients that set this dessert apart from any other banana split, it was the quantity.
We barely finished half of it before we could not go on any longer. Serendipity serves a smaller size of the banana split, but it’s cleverly called the “Coward’s Portion.” Who wants to order that?
A trip to Serendipity will take you down the rabbit hole into a world where suspension of disbelief is crucial. Remember to take breaks in between each spoonful of ice cream; you will need them.
Just as a side note, the original Serendipity 3 is in New York City and there are now a few more locations in other big cities.
3150 M St. NW (Corner of M & Wisconsin)
Washington, DC 20007
Closest metro station: Foggy Bottom on the blue or orange lines… it’s a bit of a walk from there, but the Circulator will take you into Georgetown for $1
Mon – Thurs: 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Fri – Sat: 11:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.