National Treasure—All Day Dining in Midtown


All day dining—American style. Sophisticated, delicious and boasts an internationally-acclaimed chef. Welcome to The National. Located in Midtown East, inside the Benjamin Hotel, this neighborhood was begging for a hot new restaurant. The National fits the bill and rolls out breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late-night menu.

The National is a “Top 10” choice for best new dining establishments in Manhattan. I visited The National for Restaurant Week during lunch, had a stellar experience and learned a little history to go with my dish. Winter Restaurant Week 2011, was originally created as an event for the 1992 Democratic Convention and has been around for close to two decades.

The National, designed by David Rockwell, is located at the restored 1927 Emery Roth building – an architectural landmark of the Beaux-Arts style and a fitting complement to the restaurant’s refined style, café culture, and eclectic interior design.

Geoffrey Zakarian is the brainchild of Town, Country, Patroon, The Delano, 44 at The Royalton, the hot new Lambs Club and even spent time in the kitchen at 21 Club. The sous chef, Paul Corsentino, hails from the former Country, which was a celebrated lower Madison Avenue restaurant and champagne bar in the Carlton Hotel. Classic French cooking is his thing, but The National takes a twist, slightly more Americana.

I started out with the Pear and Parsnip soup – hot, rich and perfect on a cold, snowy day, elegantly served in a silver pot. The Branzino was beautifully prepared with sunchokes and chive pistou – a plentiful portion, light but yet filling.

I took a wrong turn and chose the Roasted Apple Cheesecake for dessert, but ended up eating most of my lunch companion’s “Chocolate Malted” – a devil’s food cake oozing with cocoa nibs and malt gelato – dense, delicious and just the right size. We are in luck! Most the dishes being served during Restaurant Week are on the regular menu.

If you plan to dine during Restaurant Week (January 24 – February 6, 2011) a 3-course prix-fixe lunch and dinner are offered.

First Course

Pear and Parsnip Soup
Roasted Potato, Tamarind, Chive

Fennel Salad
Pecorino, Orange, Olive, Arugula

Salmon Takaki
Seared and Served Chilled with Rare, Cucumber, Trout Roe, Dates

Main Course

Lightly Salted, Salsify, Sunchoke, Chive Pistou

Chicken Salad
Cous Cous, Mustard, Mango, Radish

Artichoke Sandwich
Eggplant, Hummus, Feta Cheese


First Course

Pear and Parsnip Soup
Roasted Potato, Tamarind, Chive

Fennel Salad
Pecorino, Orange, Olive, Arugula

Salmon Tataki
Seared and Served Chilled and Rare, Cucumber, Trout Roe, Dates

Main Course

Lightly Grilled, Salsify, Sunchoke, Chive Pistou

Ricotta Gnudi
Mushroom, Parmesan, Watercress

Roasted Chicken
Lemon, Mushroom, Fingerlings

(Lunch and Dinner)
Roasted Apple Cheesecake
Hard Cider Sorbet, Fennel Toffee, Cranberries.

The National
557 Lexington Avenue at 50th Street
Open daily 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Call 212-714-2400 for reservations

Nichole Wright is the President of Bon Vivant LLC, an event planning, PR & Fundraising agency. She has had a successful career on Wall Street and as an entrepreneur. Website: Twitter: @bonvivantgirl.

One Response to National Treasure—All Day Dining in Midtown

  1. Merry Sheils says:

    Sounds yummy, Nichole. Can’t wait to go!

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