Looking for a pre/post Broadway meal that is close to all the shows, but slightly off the beaten path? Try Triomphe. This upscale, intimate little French restaurant is just what the doctor ordered. Fast, friendly service in a romantic environment. The restaurant, located at 49 West 44th Street New York, NY 10036, is a hidden gem that is just far enough off the beaten path that you won’t be overrun by tourists but will still be close enough to grab a bite before or after the show.
I spent a week in Paris last year looking for that one great French meal, but unfortunately I never found it. How does a Michigan boy like Chef Jason Tillman learn to make French food better than the French? Especially a chef who learned his craft at the Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, Fl?
There is a very lovely little bar area called The Lantern’s Keep for you to put your feet up and relax before your meal and show. The wine and drink selection looked pretty fierce. The bartender will make whatever you want, I asked him to surprise me and he made up something special that had a perfect blend of sweetness with the alcohol. I have no idea what was in it, but it was an amazing drink. I call it the Seminar by Michelle, ask for it by name.
The menu has a nice mixture of meats and seafood to choose from. Small plates include shrimp dumplings, an absolutely amazing lobster bisque which is almost more lobster than bisque, and some escargots that come with a beautiful wild mushroom and garlic sauce.
Salad choices are pretty basic but there are a few interesting choices – one crab meat, some sort of goat cheese salad, a baby bok choy salad and some others. Main plates include herb crusted halibut, sole meuniere, crispy bronzino, roasted chicken, black pepper duck , slow braised short ribs and coriander crusted lamb rack.
When you look at everything else on the menu the dessert menu seemed a little light. It consisted of creme brulee, cheesecake, chocolate croissant bread pudding and chocolate cake. I really wish they had some crepe choices.
The prices on all of these dishes range from $12 to $40. While there, my guest and I went for the Chef’s Six Course Tasting menu with wine pairings. My companion and I were treated to one of the best meals that we’ve ever had. This four-hour feast for the eyes, senses and palate included:
- Escargots with wild mushrooms and black truffle creme fraiche with garlic croutons
- Bison tartare with capers, egg salad, purple potato chips, chestnut jam, and anchovy vinaigrette
- An amazing lobster bisque with acorn squash and roasted apples
- Seared sea scallops with porcini mushroom and foie gras butter
- Herb crusted halibut, haricot vert, braised leek, and tomato jam
- Last but not least, Triomphe’s Signature coriander crusted australian lamb rack with foie gras stuffed prunes and spinach in a port wine sauce. The prunes were flavorful, sweet and tasty, but had a texture that I’m not sure worked with the lamb and spinach.
The only downside to this meal: the bison tartare was very good but there was a tad too much salt. My friend would not let me lick the plate from that amazing porcini mushroom sauce used in the scallop dish. By the time the dessert came it became just too much of a good thing: the roasted pear tart seemed mediocre compared to everything else.
Lastly, I’m not a wine or champagne drinker so I have no appreciation for the numerous variety of reds, whites and Champagne we got to sample. I’m assured by my companion that it was amazing.
While it did take us four hours to have this meal of the gods, or in America’s case the 1%, the service for other tables was very fast. We noticed groups of four taking less than an hour to sit down and have their meal.
If you have the time and really want to experience food from heaven, check out Triomphe and be sure to get the Chef’s Tasting Menu – who knows the Chef may even come out and greet you personally. This six course meal was perfectly balanced and gives you just enough variaty of tastes to satisfy the palate while not making you feel overly stuffed.
The Chef’s Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings cost $145 per person. Triomphe is located at 49 West 44th Street New York, NY 10036, at The Iroquois Hotel.