In a dining era where dessert can mean gimmicky hybrids, bizarre ice cream flavors and crumbly deconstructions of vaguely familiar sweets, it’s nice to settle into a classic from time to time; enter the simple pleasure of the cream puff, aka profiterole. There’s nothing to ponder about it except its divine pastry shell, its creamy stuffing and sweet saucing. Midtown’s Triomphe is turning out the perfect paradigm of the dessert ($9) these days, with white chocolate gelato tucked inside the traditional choux pastry garnished with a powerful lacing of Grand Marnier and espresso.
Set inside the historic Iroquois Hotel, 14-year-old Triomphe recently welcomed a new executive chef, Florian Wehrli. Certainly his Swiss heritage, and training under French greats such as Jean-Louis Palladin, helped his mastery of such a timeless treat. He’s equally adept at creative celebrations of fresh ingredients such as the green-and-cream-colored Harlequin soup, a half white asparagus, half green pea potage bridged with black truffles ($15). A butter-poached Maine lobster with snap peas, saffron risotto and a stinging nettle sauce ($44) is further proof that it’s not only the sweets that smell of success here.