Acclaimed chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s The National Bar & Dining Rooms in New York City’s Midtown offers classic bistro dishes with a Modern American twist in a welcoming David Rockwell-designed interior.
Sprawling leather banquettes, a grand circular stairwell and an eye-catching tiled floor provide a comfortable and luxurious setting, located in the lobby of the city’s Benjamin Hotel on 50th and Lexington, that’s perfect for an impromptu morning pop-in or an intimate dinner date.
New York is (unofficially) home to the best brunches in the world, so I was thrilled to sample one of the city’s newer breakfast and brunch spots, located in Manhattan’s busy Midtown, a tourist and commuter hub. The National restaurant is the brainchild of renowned American chef Geoffrey Zakarian, the man behind top NYC restaurants and hotspots like TOWN, Country and The Lambs Club.
Family-friendly and welcoming (how can you not love friendly, smiling New York wait staff?), my guest and I cosied up side by side in a comfortable leather booth and salivated at the descriptions of the chorizo omelette ($16, about £10, with idiazabal cheese, caramelised onion, pepperoncini, roasted potatoes and a side of grilled country bread) and the bacon and mushroom omelette ($16, about £10, packed with tasty cremini, spinach, asiago, and roasted potatoes), which were as stuffed full of goodies, filling and decadent as they sounded on paper – but still left us feeling light enough for a day spent walking through the city.
There’s really something for everyone on the menu: buttermilk pancakes with candied hazelnut and honey butter for the sweet tooth, huevos rancheros with roasted avocado and corn tortilla chips for the Mexican food fiend and pastrami eggs benedict for a New York twist on the classic brunch dish.
The full-service establishment also offers lunch and dinner service, exotic cocktails and a ‘marathon pasta dinner’ prix-fixe meal for $40 (about £25), ideal for some winter-warming carb-fuelling. Artsy types will also appreciate the Beaux-Arts style architecture of the hotel, which Georgia O’Keefe used as the subject of one of her paintings.
With affordable prices and a more-than-pleasant atmosphere, it’s a great place to stop by for a pick-me-up before or after a marathon midtown shopping session or wander in the nearby Central Park. Just bring an empty stomach!