There are about 25,000 restaurants in New York City. Don’t quote me on that, though—that number is according to my research on Google. However, when you’re walking the streets of the biggest metropolitan city in the country, it seems there are millions of eateries to choose from. So when I consulted with my husband where we should dine one night of our three night trip, we were dumbfounded.
Thank goodness a friend referred us to the bar and restaurant in Midtown Manhattan’s Iroquois Hotel.
It was a beautiful December evening in New York. My husband sported a sport coat, and I dressed in black; a black dress, black tights, and black knee high boots. I figured the dark color would hide my soon-to-be pudgy tummy after stuffing ourselves silly.
Our dining experience—go figure—kicked off with drinks. There’s just something about drinking a Manhattan in Manhattan during Christmas time. My husband and I aren’t necessarily big on whiskey or scotch, but the strong liquor is soothing in the cold, romantic city.
Anyway, nestled deep into the Iroquois New York, is Lantern’s Keep, a total hidden gem. The refined cocktail salon is totally intimate—it probably seats give-or-take 50 people. The kind bartenders had our table reserved—in fact, it was a sky blue plush loveseat with a whole view of the bar. While I’ve never been to Europe, the feel seemed European—the vibe was cool and comfortable. The drink menu is carefully constructed and all the hand-craft cocktails are served in an eccentric cup or glass. Theo Lieberman was our fabulous bartender; I ordered the Trouble Maker (LOL): Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Lemon, Shaken with Cucumber & Strawberry, & Club Soda. It was overly delightful.
After our Lantern’s Keep pit-stop, we walked through the Iroquois lobby to Triomphe, the hotel’s feature restaurant.
Triomphe boasts being one of, if not the best restaurant in NYC’s Theater District, courtesy of culinary extraordinaire Chef Jason Tilmann. The simply decorated unpretentious and intimate Triomphe opened in 2000, easily earning a two-star rating by The New York Times and New York Magazine. But more important than those esteemed ratings, was that from my husband…the foodie. He left saying it was the best meal he’s ever had.
We started with a glass of bubbly and some appetizers.
Our small plate selection consisted of the following: lobster dumplings with wakame salad and ginger butter (my choice), and seared sea scallops topped with porcini mushrooms and foie gras butter (my foie gras-loving husband’s choice). The savory seafood-inspired hor-devours had an elite twist—a perfect concoction for the French eatery.
If you know me, you know I love my salads. As silly as that may sound, I love mixing leafy greens with other veggies, and topping it with cheese, fruits, and nuts. My love for fresh beets is oddly indescribable, so when I saw a beet salad with baby lettuce, goat cheese, pistachios, and rum soaked raisins on the menu, I was sold.
You know when you order a meal—particularly a salad—and there’s only one sliver of avocado, one chunk of cheese, or a scarce amount of scattered nuts? Well, that was not the case at Triomphe. Every bite of my beet salad consisted of a beet and taste of goat cheese. It was perfect.
And the husband even opted for a healthy salad: endive, kalamata olives, manchego cheese, and citrus dressing. While I’m not an olive fan, the salad was fab.
For our main dish, I ordered the roasted striped bass, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, and warm tomato caper vinaigrette. I’m really into this whole spaghetti squash thing—maybe I’m late on that bandwagon, but to me, it’s a new delectable fad. And of course I’m a big fish fan, so the striped sea bass was a great ending to my multi-course meal. By this time, my tummy was easily filling up, so I found it tough to clear my plate. However, that was not the case for my husband.
He ordered venison ossobuco, pumpkin risotto, parsnips, roasted garlic and natural jus. I said it earlier in this piece and I’ll say it again…my hubby stands firm: it was the best meal he’s ever had—and that’s quite a bold statement from such a food-loving guy. Venison isn’t necessarily on the top of my favorite list, but I still tasted his dinner. The pumpkin risotto made his meal complete. We also shared a side of the truffle whipped potatoes. When in Rome, right?!
I’m not surprised it’s now January 2013, and I’m desperately trying to burn off my gained pounds from the month of December; there’s no doubt our Triomphe experience contributed to my slight weight gain. However, the dining endeavor was well worth it– Triomphe is surely a triumph when it comes to fine dining in the city boasting thousands of restaurants.
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