Monday, December 8, 2008

Not so Serendipitous

I have been wanting to visit Serendipity in New York since I (a) saw the movie and (b) learned that the specialty was frozen hot chocolate.  Frozen hot chocolate?  Such wonderment!  Such mystery!  Such crazy wait times!

I attempted a snack on my first visit to NYC on a cold rainy/slushy December afternoon and discovered the three hour wait time.  I kid you not.  Clearly every other tourist has also seen the movie.  My apologies if you have not seen the John Cusack loveliness that was nearly ruined by the always bland Kate Beckinsale (but thank goodness for Molly Shannon and John Corbett) which was named for this restaurant (even though I can't actually remember the restaurant in it).

Anyhoo, Serendipity 3 attracts tourists from around the globe, toting bags from Bloomie's and demanding the famous frozen hot chocolate along with other edible goods.  I thought it was only desserts here, but no, they serve everything to a point where they probably shouldn't.  More on that later.

Needless to say, I have always been curious and now that K was in town I had the perfect excuse to go.  After trying to see the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller (along with 3 million other people), discovering the magic palace on Madison that felt like a secret, and checking out the retro windows at Bloomingdale's, we wandered over a few blocks and entered the pastel spectacle.

Surprisingly there was a very short wait!  I should hope so as it was nearly midnight and tourists are usually in bed by this time so they can get up and wait in the TKTS line.  We were led behind two other girls who were about to be seated at the crappiest table ever.  But they spotted the table meant for us:  by the window and under the Christmas ice cream cone.  They were led instead to that one leaving us with the crap table.  Bitches.

The crap table was crap for a few reasons:  
#1  It was not next to the window under the pink ice cream cone
#2 It was right next to the busing station and therefore loud
#3 It smelled like ketchup and garbage

Due to the fact it was late and the restaurant was clearing out, I asked our waiter (politely I must inform you) if we could switch seats to the other empty table by the other window with the magic ice cream cone.  He looked and it and said "It's meant for six to eight people".  I replied "are there six to eight people waiting for it?".  He huffed and told me we would have to talk to the host.  Seeing as the host who had led us to the crap table apologizing for its crapness was nice, I knew we would be by the cone in no time.

But the host that came was not our host.  He was asshole host.  He rudely, and I mean rudely told us that we could sit downstairs at the very front.  He repeated very front twice which told me that was the naughty table where people sat waiting for good tables (it was right by the front door and line-up that was non-existent at this time).  He really was quite the a-hole about it.  Aren't customers supposed to be right?  Aren't we supposed to get golden treatment?  

Two girls across from us were SLOWLY paying their tab.  It wasn't all their fault they were slow.  Although they couldn't do math or figure out how to use credit cards, it was also the fact that the slow, surly waiter didn't take their bill back right away because he felt more inclined to play 'tic tac toe' with the other waiter.  At this point, I was just trying to look forward to my frozen hot chocolate.  But nothing irks me more than bad service, especially in a place called Serendipity.    The fact that I could smell garbage and banging was going on behind my head didn't help.

The nice host came back upstairs and I nabbed him.  Another table had vacated while the two girls figured out they could each pay $10 using cash, quite the concept, and we asked if we could move over there.  Immediately and without question, he took us over.  Well, almost right away, our surly waiter had to slam ten dirty dishes in the tray behind my ear causing me to flinch and shoot him a dirty look before we got out of our chairs.

Seated in a much nicer area, albeit not under the pink Christmas cone, K and I proceeded to order our frozen hot chocolate and teas.  I peered around me and realized that we were definitely in tourist town.  Or in the case of our friends to the right, fat American town. Okay okay, I know that sounds horrible and bitchy.  It totally is.  But honestly, the two girls next to us were sort of popping out of their clothes as they stuffed a FC each (K and I shared one) down their throats and added the empty dishes to the pile of 10 dishes already on their table.  I kid you not.  

They also were the type to lick their fingers after eating and requested to see the menu to take stuff home for breakfast. Under my breath, I may have said 'more like for the subway ride home'.  I also couldn't help but notice the stench of the table next to us. Maybe it hadn't been the busing station after all.  Maybe the whole restaurant stank.  K agreed that although the dessert is divine, it is always mixed with the scent of bad chicken terriyaki or old burgers.  Yum.

I must say that the frozen hot chocolate was super yummy.  In fact I would love to have it again.  But if that means going back to Serendipity where the staff clearly should be working at a state penitentiary with those attitudes and the usual wait times run over an hour, I guess I will just have to look at the pictures. . . . 


Marisa said...

Um, how is frozen hot chocolate different from chocolate ice cream?

Sarah Groundwater said...

It just is! It's like hot chocolate slurpee. Hard to explain, unfortunately you will have to go to Serendipity to experience