*****AS OF NOVEMBER 2010, SERENDIPITY IS OUT OF BUSINESS******************
“A place where ladies lunch” was my thought as we stepped into the door of Serendipity in downtown Carmel. We had intended on going to another restaurant that was not open and so we decided to try this instead. Hubby felt a little awkward in the décor of glass top tables and tea pots in what used to be a bank (they have a private table set up back in the vault). I have to admit the atmosphere of the place almost didn’t feel like a restaurant, but like a set of a restaurant in a tv show or something. (And from the outside, it is very non-descript---you probably wouldn’t guess there was a restaurant in there). Apparently the chandeliers are restored from the L.S. Ayres tea room downtown and they also serve a version of the famous chicken velvet soup. They serve lunch and have afternoon tea service.
I don’t think there is a large kitchen here as the menu is limited to a lot of paninis and salad type items. But the mix of ingredients was intriguing and luckily, our server was a guy who was dressed a lot like hubby (very casually in shorts) so that made him feel a little more at ease.
I ordered the “Serendipity chicken broccoli strata” which was a combination of broccoli, a bit of chicken, whipping cream and eggs on a bready crust. Sort of reminded me of a savory bread pudding, except that the bread was all at the bottom more like a crust. The first thing I noticed was that it was really hot. It took awhile for it to cool enough that I could eat it. But the flavors were nice—a very comforting combination of familiar ingredients. It (as was hubby’s) was served with a little side salad that was drizzled with raspberry dressing. The dressing wasn’t bad—it had a nice tangy, not ridiculously sweet flavor, but the greens would have been nicer if they were actually tossed in it (but you know that is one of my pet peeves). They also served a nice bowl of mixed fruit (blueberries, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple) as well as a small scone for dessert (again both our dishes had all the same accompaniments). Hubby got to his scone first and said he was just going to have a bite to try it. He really liked it. It wasn’t quite as dense as most scones I have had, and it was very good. It was chock full of all kinds of sweet treats, from chocolate chips to white chocolate chips, and every bite was a little different. It sort of crumbled in your hands as you ate it, but it was a really nice ending to a nice meal. I always like a little something sweet at the end of a meal, but usually skip dessert at lunch. This was a nice touch.
Hubby had the “Serendipity Panini” which looked like your typical grilled panini sandwich filled with turkey, bacon, tomato, spinach and cheese with their “special sauce.” I am pretty sure that sauce was some form of balsamic dressing. This sandwich was really really good. Overall, because of the balance of all the flavors, I may have liked it a bit more than mine. And I like a panini because it is pressed flat because it makes it easy to eat. I really don’t like super thick sandwiches. I would certainly order this sandwich again myself. He also had iced tea, which he said was some of the best he has had anywhere, which I thought was a good sign of a place that also has a full tea service.
All in all, although the atmosphere is a little strange to me (it would probably be good for a baby or bridal shower or something like that), the food is very good and well thought out. Apparently, the people who run it also have a couple of other similar restaurants with different themes. I would be interested in trying some of the other locations to see what they are like. Have you guys ever been to any of them?
2 West Main Street
Carmel, IN 46032