Not many restaurants can say they had a movie named after it. … Or that they have been around more than six decades. … Or that Cher, Jackie O, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kim Kardashian were customers. … Or that Selena Gomez is a partner.
But Serendipity3 can claim all of those … and then some.
Since opening in New York City in 1954, Serendipity3 has become a culinary institution, a place where locals, tourists and celebrities flock to for great food and sweet endings, like their famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.
It’s so popular that the 2001 romantic-comedy “Serendipity” with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale centered around the eventual couple having dessert at Serendipity3.
Now, Atlantic City can claim it has its own Serendipity3 at Ocean Casino Resort, currently the only other Serendipity in the world.
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“Serendipity3 is known worldwide as the No. 1 spot for birthdays, bachelorette parties and special occasion celebrations,” says Serendipity3 Owner John Cestare. “The location here at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City celebrates hundreds of events each week, with special attention given to the guest of honor.
Cestare is not kidding. Among the renovated, former Café 500 restaurant is a giant LED screen that goes berserk when it’s time to celebrate someone’s special occasion. We witnessed three birthdays in 15 minutes, which included the staff singing and bringing out some type of gigantic dessert.
Other highlights of the design include giraffes coming out of a wall lined with roses, framed celebrity pictures and cotton candy clouds hanging from the ceiling.
In other words, it’s a real-life Candyland with good food.
I am going to get back to what Serendipity may be known for – like that Frrrozen Hot Chocolate or $99 sundae named after Gomez - but Serendipity3 is so much more than that.
The large – I mean supersized, crazy large – menu features a slew of savory choices with something for everyone, from burgers to pasta and everything in between.
While most of the menu emulates New York City’s, there are some things that are unique, particularly the Ferris Wheel Sampler ($33), a monstrous heaping of mozzarella sticks, popcorn shrimp, pretzel bites, chicken tenders and onion rings served in separate compartments on a giant, metal Ferris Wheel that will take over any table. The presentation, like most things at Serendipity3, is superb, and the giant appetizer comes with all of the appropriate dipping sauces.
Other starters include cheeseburger sliders ($20) with American cheese, special sauce, lettuce and tomato; Wild West Wings ($18) with blue cheese dressing served with buffalo or BBQ sauce; and the Ultimate Potato Skins ($17) “loaded with goodness” such as bacon and cheese.
The largest section of the menu – “Between Two Pieces of Bread” – boasts some terrific handheld favorites and are served with pickles and fries, including the footlong chili cheese dog ($20), the impressive bacon BBQ cheeseburger ($21) made with fresh ground meat and the Grilled Young Chicken Sandwich ($20) with avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheddar Jack cheese and spicy mayo.
That chicken sandwich and the salad section, which contains four salads, are about the only healthy options you will find here, including the Monet Salad ($19) with baby arugula, strawberry, avocado, candied walnuts, blue cheese crumbles and balsamic vinaigrette.
And the small entrée section includes two pastas – check out the surprisingly good chicken or shrimp penne alfredo ($25, $30) – and buttermilk fried chicken and waffles ($23).
Break the bank
An area of the menu – topped with a Guinness Book of World Records logo – is devoted to six ridiculously priced items that have set records for being the most expensive dish of its kind, including the Golden Opulence Sundae ($1,000) with gold leaf, almonds, caviar and a sugar-forged orchid that takes eight hours to build; Le Burger Extravagant ($295) featuring Japanese wagyu beef, black truffles and a quail egg; the $214 Quintessential Gourmet Cheese Sandwich with champagne bread, edible gold flakes, white truffle butter and cheese imported from Italy; a foot long Haute dog for $69 grilled in white truffle oil and topped with duck fois gras and black truffles; a Luxe milkshake that will set you back $100, is made with special milks and creams and served in a Swarovski crystal vessel; and the World’s Most Expensive Fries, weighing in at $200 for its edible gold, Chipperbec potatoes blanched and scalded in vinegar and champagne and accompanied with a variety of truffles and truffle-infused deliciousness.
They must all be ordered with at least 48 hours notice.
Saving the best for last
OK, now back to the stuff you might know Serendipity3 best for: The sweet stuff.
The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate ($17 to $20) is pretty much exactly what you would expect: an icy version of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and flavors ranging from peanut butter to hot salted caramel chocolate to birthday cake to vegan coconut. They are as awesome and refreshing as they sound and perfect for a summer cooler.
There aren’t many places where you can get Southern pecan pie a la mode ($13) and birthday cake ($15), or how about a giant metal cone filled with fluffy cotton candy called the Celebration Tower ($14)? But Serendipity3 has you covered.
It also offers about a half dozen Belgian waffles including one with Nutella and banana ($18), one with Fruity Pebbles ($18) and another called the Unicorn ($20), a tie-dye vanilla waffle with cotton candy, sugar cone, whipped butter, whipped cream and maple syrup.
Ice cream sundaes take up a huge portion of the menu. Standouts include the Outrageous Banana Split ($28) with vanilla, chocolate, strawberry ice cream, bananas, peanuts, walnuts, hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, cherry and chocolate shavings; and the Selena’s Celebration Sundae ($99) that feeds 12 people with 20 scoops of Selena Gomez’s Cookies & Cream Remix Ice Cream and pretty much every topping you can imagine from hot fudge to cotton candy to sprinkles.
This is not a place to go if you’re on a diet.
Cestare says the expansion of Seendipity3 to Ocean Casino is just the beginning.
“We do plan to continue to expand and grow the Serendipity brand,” Cestare says. “We have had major developers from throughout the country reach out to us, and we’re excited about the prospect of growing in entertainment areas, casinos and theme parks across the country.”