By Doug Singer
between 5th and
, off of the lobby of the trendy Iroquois Hotel, Triomphe restaurant is
a hidden gem in the bustling midtown area of
. The intimate room in the heart of
’s theater district, is inhabited by a mere 11 tables.
The simple yet elegant décor is made up of dark walnut floors, a
domed ceiling and minimally decorated, pristine white walls.
With the swirling sounds of jazz from overhead and an ambiance that
nudges you to sit back, relax and take your time, we sensed that we were
in for a treat. As the
brainchild of original chef/owner Steve Zobel, the eclectic blend of Haute
American and Country French cuisine was calling out from the menu, urging
us to get started. The
festivities began with the nightly bartender’s specialty, a coconut
martini. Although not the
obvious choice on an unseasonably cold
evening, it was an absolute delight to the senses.
I would return to Triomphe just to experience this elegant libation
again. So creamy, yet so
light. How’d they do that?
As recommended by our extremely well informed waiter, my fiancé
and I chose the tasting menu with the wine pairing.
At six courses, we settled in and prepared ourselves for a culinary
The journey got started with a LaRossa salad. A
sumptuous blend of endive, arugula, tomato and pickled onion tossed with
lemon juice and olive oil and topped with shaved parmesan.
Simple and elegant, a great start.
What followed was a steaming bowl of acorn squash wontons, floating
in a truffle Parmesan broth, garnished with escarole. Without even lifting
a spoon, my senses were assaulted with the intoxicating aroma.
I was tempted to just bask in the moment, but upon indulging, I was
somewhat surprised and delighted by the way that the cool sweet wontons
contrasted with the pungent salty broth.
The pairing of a Sancerre from the Loire
made this dish nothing short of perfection.
Strong, clear flavors and a unique culinary experience seemed to be
taking shape. This masterpiece was followed by seared diver scallops, with
foie gras and porcini mushroom butter.
Draped across the scallops, were a couple of carpaccio thin sheets
of foie gras. Unexpected, but
thoughtful panache. Although a delectable treat, the mushrooms were a bit
As I sat in appreciation of this fine meal, the
attention to detail started becoming more and more apparent.
From the carefully trimmed flowers to the charming vessel
containing a flickering tea light, I felt the very soul of this
restaurateur in every detail. The next course was roasted squab set atop a
port wine reduction with fresh raspberries.
The squab was cooked to perfection; however the sauce, a little
overly sweet for my taste, needed to be used sparingly. What
followed was the piece de resistance. A seared coriander encrusted,
Australian rack of lamb, with foie gras stuffed prunes and spinach with
port wine. At first, the
thought of prunes stuffed with foie gras smacked of a chef trying a little
too hard to impress. Clearly,
this was not the case. Hands down this was the best lamb dish I have had
in recent memory. At this
point, my senses were reeling. Just
when we thought that we couldn’t take any more, we were presented with
fresh figs, strawberries and a perfectly light zabaglione.
Fairly simple, until it danced on the palate with the Three Bridges
dessert wine that was served to us. Three
hours after arriving we got in a cab and headed to the
Upper East Side
, both in agreement that the best pairing of the evening was the excellent
service and the fine cuisine. With that in mind, it would be a surprise to
not see this 2-˝ star restaurant breach the 3 star barrier.
49 W. 44th St
($31.00 - $50.00)
menu w/ wine pairing, $95 pp
– Business casual
Credit Cards Accepted