To begin day two of the Harrah’s Las Vegas Taste Tour, our group headed out into the sunshine to brunch at Serendipity 3, the sweet eatery most famous for its over-the-top desserts. Namely, the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.
Now, as an admitted sweet-seeker, knowing I was brunching at Serendipity, I woke up that morning with a deep craving for anything and everything maple-syrup-soaked or powdered-sugar-dusted. I figured a stack of pancakes to be in my very near future. I had an extra bounce in my step as I walked up to the hot pink palace.
Once inside, I was met, nose first, with caramel and that nutty sweet linger of freshly ironed waffles. Thick, drifting wafts of espresso cut through the sugar-spun air, and I was thankful for its power to snap me out of the sugar spiral I was winding into.
The décor inside Serendipity 3 is pure whimsy. Alice in Wonderland meets Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. A girly girl’s paradise. The word ‘cute’ comes to mind. Splashy orange and hot pink just about pop from rainbow pin-striped walls, giving the whole sweet spot a faint pink glow. Tables, heart-backed chairs, molding, and accents are all a clean, crisp white, a welcome contrast to the fluorescence. A big round face is painted on the clock. Light falls from ten or so chandeliers with colorful, large shade drums on the high ceiling, a style that pays tribute to the authentic Tiffany lamps in Serendipity’s flagship shop in New York City.
Serendipity plays upon big and small. Inside the restaurant, the ultra-high ceilings give you a dwarfish feeling, not unlike Alice after she shrank. You become a kid in a pink polka dotted candy shop. It’s a place where things that would naturally be small, like tea cups, are made big, like soup bowls. Not an individual portion in sight. Sundaes spilling out of chocolate treasure chests, milkshakes that require three straws, towers of Belgian waffles with whipped cream. You get lost in the food. It’s what we all dreamed of at age seven. Actually, it’s what I currently dream of.
Serendipity is largely thought to be a dessert spot, the place you go when you’re hell bent on decadence. It’s most famous for it’s signature Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, a blend of 20 different types of chocolate. But what I discovered rather quickly, was that Serendipity’s savory menu is as craving-inducing, if not more, as its sweet selection.
Once seated, each of us was presented with a menu. I love any establishment that provides me with an over-sized laminated menu. Really I do. It reminds me of being young and those big Sunday diner breakfasts I ate with my family.
The menu was just for browsing, though, because within ten minutes, our group was served one whopping order of each item on the brunch menu, so essentially, the contents of a supermarket. And by supermarket I mean Costco.
Each platter-ful was impossibly decadent and somehow more extravagant than the one before. As you’d imagine, my excitement level inched upwards at a rather alarming rate.
I should have expected as much, given that the first serving involved a drinkable blend of twenty chocolates, melting mini marshmallows, and graham crackers.
S’Mores Hot Chocolate
Frrrozen Hot Chocolate
This frozen treat is what makes Serendipity so well known. Or at least, it’s the one menu item I had heard about several hundred times before dining there. I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit of a chocoholic and as milkshakes go, this fell flat for me. It tasted icy rather than creamy, and the chocolate flavor was a bit closer to standard hot cocoa mix than I’d like.
Orrreo Frrrozen Hot Chocolate
This version of the frozen treat was much better than the original. It was richer and creamier, with a more pronounced vanilla meets cookies ‘n’ cream flavor.
Saints and Sinners French Toast Log
savory: bacon, sunny side up eggs, breakfast potatoes
sweet: fresh berries, whipped cream
The french toast was memorable. Thickly sliced brioche makes for the perfect egg-soaked, custard-flavored french toast if you ask me. I also like the play between sweet and savory.
Banana Cream Waffles
sliced bananas and cream sandwiched between two jumbo waffles, topped with fresh berries, and drizzled with chocolate
The Hangover Omelet
bacon, french fries, mushrooms, cheddar
Several of the brunch orders were served with breakfast potatoes, which were just about perfect. My largest problem with home fries and hash browns at breakfast spots is that they get soggy and wet with oil, rather than maintaining their fried texture. These little wedges were deliciously salty, crispy yet not greasy, and had a tender mashed center. I would bet they were twice fried.
Central Park Omelet
egg white omelet with spinach, avocado, swiss cheese
Fried Eggs Benedict
corn meal crusted fried poached eggs, classic hollandaise, and ham steak, atop sausage gravy and house made biscuit
This eggs benedict was outstanding and easily my favorite dish. The freshly made biscuit was buttery, flaky, and tender, a fluffy bed for runny egg yolk and an insanely rich and creamy sausage gravy-hollandaise blend.
Holy Huevos Rancheros
chorizo, black beans, tomatillo salsa, queso fresco, pico de gallo
Fried Chicken & Waffles
half of a chicken, bacon waffles, breakfast potatoes, maple syrup, honey mustard
2 pancakes, 3 eggs, 2 sausage links, breakfast potatoes
Deep Fried Oreos and Ice Cream
deep fried oreos, cookies ‘n cream ice cream, hot fudge, marshmallow sauce
I don’t need to explain why fried oreos are divine. They’re slightly salty-sweet and tossed in a corn flake batter before frying. My only wish was for them to have been Double Stuf Oreos, but that’s just pure gluttony on my part.
Serendipity Las Vegas Treasure Chest
chocolate chest box, filled with assorted ice creams, cookies, berries, cakes…
At a whopping $77, this treasure chest is exclusive to the Las Vegas Serendipity 3, and legend has it that no one has finished it (or it’s never been recorded). The general manager told us that once, a group of twelve men attempted devouring it and failed. This news makes me contemplate entering the competitive eating world. I did my best.
Please note how intently I am taking that photo. That’s the face of an addict, friends.
photo courtesy Scott Roeben
When all was said and eaten, and I had achieved a level of delirium unique to total sugar domination, I found myself asking, “Why is this place only known for the sweets?” Because contrary to my naturally sweet-inclinations, I quite liked the savory. Sure each and every item, savory and sweet, was over-the-top, decadent, and dreamy, but for the most part, the sweeter things like cake, brownies, and frrrozen hot chocolate tasted somewhat standard, and just as I’d expect them to. Tasty but not terrific.
Savory fare, on the other hand, like the fried eggs benedict, the plump sausage links, the savory french toast, and the breakfast potatoes are what would lure me back to Serendipity 3. Those and the chance to spend an hour inside a hot pink palace and feel ten again.