Serendipity serves up comfort food in a warm, inviting space
Dining Deal review: Serendipity, a new neighborhood cafe in Magnolia, succeeds with a family-friendly atmosphere, great service and a mac-n-cheese dish to die for.
Seattle Times NW Ticket editor
3222 W. McGraw St., Seattle
Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. (kitchen closes at
9 p.m.) Mondays-Saturdays and 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.
Etc: Street parking, no obstacles to access, all major credit cards accepted. Don't be fooled by area sidewalk construction; Serendipity is open. Wine and beer available.
Prices: $ (breakfast meals $4-$9, sandwiches $7-$9, dinner entrees $9-$14).
Talk about thinking positively. In these trying economic times, two Magnolia families opened a cafe this summer, hoping to put good fortune right in the name — Serendipity.
The new restaurant — a family-friendly spot in a family-friendly Seattle nabe hungry for good restaurant options — just might have some good luck in store. Sisters-in-law and co-owners Jen Young and Nanette Baker spent the last year rehabbing the former Magnolia Tree gift and card store, before opening the warm, homey Serendipity in July.
The menu: It's in flux at the moment, as Young and Baker — who work in the front of the house and kitchen, respectively — add in some family recipes and autumny fare such as chicken potpie and lasagna.
We stopped by to sample the dinner menu, which ranges from angel-hair pasta ($9) to a pork-chop dinner with garlic mashed potatoes ($14). A kids' dinner menu is basically child-size portions of several of the main menu's offerings, including the pasta, grilled cheese and meatloaf. And Serendipity just introduced a full breakfast menu, featuring biscuits and gravy, eggs Benedict, buttermilk pancakes and egg dishes.
What to write home about: The Grown-up Mac & Cheese ($9) was oh-so-good, a mix of creamy (cheeses like fontina, mozzarella, Romano and white Cheddar, and I don't even want to know how much heavy cream), crunchy (Parmesan-toasted fresh breadcrumbs), al dente (elbow mac that wasn't overcooked!) and divine (a touch of truffle oil). My kids chose the tyke-version angel-hair pasta ($4.75) and meatloaf ($5.50). The latter was a treat: a well-seasoned homemade loaf with garlicky mashed potatoes that my 6-year-old scarfed. (It also came with a spicy tomato cream sauce that he didn't care for but I loved; the cream sauce comes on the $12 adult version, too).
What to skip: The pasta. Overcooked and swimming in liquid (oil? undrained pasta-boiling water?), my picky-eating 8-year-old wasn't being picky by skipping this dish — just smart.
The setting: Serendipity is going for an inviting living-room feel, with a warm brown on the walls and a kids' play room at the back of the house. Kids will love it — especially the gelato bar near the play area. I got talked into a lemon gelato ($4.75 for a large) that was suck-in-your-cheeks tart and terrific.
Summing up: We topped off our meal for three with a house salad and a couple of sodas, checking out at $43.95 with tax and tip — a night worth the price. With good service, an inviting décor and a simple menu that seems to have something for everyone, I'm not betting against Serendipity.
Raina Wagner: 206-464-8147
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