Thursday, June 25, 2009
Location: 210 West 55th St.
People: FA, AP and myself
Feelings: As I walk by Serafina on my way to work everyday with a bagel and coffee in my hand, their outdoor seating area and swanky interior always look very inviting. Instead of merely walking by and staring in, like Holly Golightly in front of Tiffany's, I was ecstatic to finally go in and try this Italian place.
The restaurant seemed upscale yet down to earth with a European restaurant vibe, which is perfect for business lunch or taking your out-of-town friends for brunch. FA mentioned that he saw Diddy once, who has his Sean John enterprise next door here, and I heard two fratty businessmen behind me name dropping Jim Cramer. I would say it seems to be an extremely "Jim Cramer is having lunch with Diddy" kind of a place.
The service was incredible and almost enlightening. The waitstaff was so experienced that I did not even feel like they were actually there. It was as if we had invisible waitstaff reading our minds and getting exactly what we needed at every moment. I also noticed that our waiter never lost a smile, not even once. The register area was right in front of our table, but he kept smiling even when he was not serving us. It is refreshing to see waitstaff with such integrity and professionalism, and I realized I need to use such mannerism at my work more.
They had extensive menu selections, so we had a difficult time choosing. We eventually ordered fried calamari and Buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil as appetizers. The calamari was fried in Italian peanut oil and came with spicy tomato dipping sauce. The dip complimented the subtle greasiness of calamari. For main dish, FA ordered lasagna, AP finished his seafood risotto quickly and without a word (It must have been great!), and I had my usual Italian favorite, gnocchi. I like my gnocchi a little more chewy, but it was tasty nonetheless.
Serafina makes people and service the stars, and it did not seem the food was their biggest attraction. The food was good, but it does not outshine the wonderful dining experience. It gives people an opportunity to meet and spend some time together with food. In this case, the food cannot be too adventurous or exciting because it might turn some people off. It needs to be your usual comfortable dishes so you can focus on your friends instead of food. If you enjoy nice decor and atmosphere with amazing service, and if you are looking for a nice spacious dining experience, then Serafina is the place.