A Midtown Night's Dream

           (Image courtesy of mikeeatsfood.blogspot.com) Serafina Broadway Midtown West Dream Hotel 210 W 55th St at Broadway...

          (Image courtesy of mikeeatsfood.blogspot.com)

Serafina Broadway
Midtown West
Dream Hotel
210 W 55th St at Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 315-1700


In all its swanky splendor, it's no coincidence that Serafina Broadway is located on the first floor of a hotel with the name Dream. This famous restaurant was definitely on my mind as I drifted into REM sleep the other night.

The half-haute, half-homey hotspot, one of Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato's four chains, features primary colors and gorgeous, unique designs by renowned New York architect David Rockwell. Red-and-orange tongues of stained glass fire radiate the walls, along with swirly blown glass chandeliers, bright yellow pillars and, of course, the mirror mural of Marilyn Monroe who greets you behind her sunglasses with a coy wave as you walk toward the back of the restaurant. Unfortunately, I failed to check out the ladies' restroom (what was I thinking?!), where Federico Fellini films are supposedly projected onto the floor.  

I didn't miss out, however, on the cuisine. When you haven't eaten all day in order to prepare yourself, who really cares about anything else?

I'll give you the whole dish-by-dish description of what my friends Divya, Caroline, Jamie, Molly, and I shared...

After sipping some champagne, we ordered the following:

Goat Cheese e Spinach Salad: baby spinach with warm goat cheese medallions, pine nuts, honey, and balsamic vinaigrette. I could have eaten this and only for the next three days. I wish I could have copped this creamy, sweet and zesty vinaigrette recipe from the chef! 

Margherita Pizza: This was easily one of the best thin-crust pizzas I've had in a while: nice and hot with air bubbles near the crust and a slightly charred bottom characteristic of most brick oven pizzas. Just the way I like it. Perfect balance of marinara, mozzarella and olive oil. Oh yes, and they make the mozzarella with fresh milk every single day. That's a pretty big deal any which way you slice it.

Focaccia Di Sophia al Tartufo d'Alba: Who is this Sophia character, by the way? She's as much of a mystery as Serafina's special recipe for these delightful, show-stopping bites.  Tartufo d'Alba, or White Alba Truffles, are highly expensive, crazy-shaped wild mushrooms  (about $249 per ounce!) that grow in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. The Greeks and Romans believed them to have aphrodisiac qualities. 

Maybe that's why the first nibble of these thin, truffle-filled focaccia squares was equivalent to a first kiss. After a simultaneous crackle-crunch and slightly doughy bite, a warm, soft, fluffy surprise (with the pronounced flavor of roasted garlic) oozed down the sides of the flatbread focaccia, making a mess of my fingers. I tried to be polite, but it just wasn't happening. I felt like a toddler.   

I have to show you this:

Spaghetti with clams: My grandfather's favorite Christmas Eve dish has become one of my top picks, too (well, at least Serafina's rendition of it has): rustic-chopped tomato sauce with fresh parsley bedizened with in-shell clams that reminded me of little open mouths. I certainly had no problem opening mine to taste!  Pasta was perfectly al dente.

Our server, who was a wee bit absent-minded, forgot to put in our order for the Cornish hen, so we ordered the Chicken Paillard instead. Once I had a bite of this thin, tender char-grilled chicken breast, served with fluffy, rustic mashed potatoes, sauteed escarole and endive leaves along with green beans and carrots, she was forgiven. At least, to some extent.

Tuna and salmon tartare: A beautifully crafted tower of raw tuna and salmon drizzled with peanut oil. This was my first time having tartare; it had a clean flavor and really delicate texture. Pleasant. 

Spinach ravioli: Mini squares of al dente pasta, piped with ricotta cheese and spinach in a butter-sage sauce. Little pockets of delight.

Dessert: We sampled each other's desserts, such as the airy and sweet apple pie with vanilla gelato, berry tart, crepes with Nutella, cappuccino, and the inevitable chocolate souffle (drooling with chocolate sauce, moist and warm and vulnerable inside--fantastic).

I forgot to tell you that on the way to Serafina, I limped through Midtown in the rain, my stomach growling, my 3-inch stilettos getting stuck in every metal grate on the street (as usual), and the wind mangling the top of my cheap blue-and-white-striped umbrella into a funky cone-shaped object. On the way home, I was so tired from noshing that I slumped on the old belching leather seat on the train and almost missed my stop! 

But the food, overall inviting mood and smashing decor were worth the trip. Both ways!  

Was yum the word at Serafina Broadway? Absolutely.  

I apologize that I don't have more pictures...technical difficulties once again :(

The Scoop:

Date Place? Yup.

Group Place? Yup.

Need Reservations? It depends. Maybe on a Saturday night.

Good for Kids? I don't see why not.

Dress Code: Dressy-Casual

Price: $7-20 for appetizers, $10-25 for pizza, $11-$27 for entrees.

Wait staff: As I said, our waitress wasn't great, but it wouldn't be fair to judge everyone by a single staff member.  We were received very hospitably.

Overall quality of food: Heartbreakingly good. Especially the Focaccia di Sophia.

Get There from Grand Central:


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