Must-Visit Restaurant: The National Bar & Dining Rooms

Must-Visit Restaurant: The National Bar & Dining Rooms

During winter, we spend a lot of time indoors. If you’re anything like me, that means you spend plenty of hours cozying up on the couch in front of the TV. Sure, I watch comedies, procedurals and the like, but one of my biggest pleasures is tuning in to food-focused shows. And, a lot of the celebrity chefs who dole out culinary wisdom on the small screen have their very own big-city eateries.

One such man is Geoffrey Zakarian.

The Iron Chef is a fixture on the Food Network, and I had a chance to speak with the soft-spoken culinary genius a few years ago. If you’re traveling to the city, Chef Zakarian helms several establishments in NYC that boast mouthwatering morsels, including The National Bar & Dining Rooms at The Benjamin hotel.

When I interviewed Zakarian, he described his Midtown East eatery as a “chic neighborhood café.” The space is indeed inspired by grand European cafés, plus classic American dining rooms. 

In the stylish setting, foodies can feast on Zakarian’s delectable classic bistro cuisine—from the signature “Ugly” Burger (served with Pickled Jalapeños for an extra kick and a heaping helping of hand-cut fries) to knife-and-fork fare like the Roasted Mediterranean Branzino with Sweet Carrots, Potato, Cumin, Frisee and Mostarda; Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs with Polenta, Trevisiano, Sunchoke and Aged Balsamic; and the Pork Chop with Red Cabbage, Black Pepper Spätzle and Baked Apple.  

Whatever you choose, you can expect fresh and accessible cuisine with a concentration on American ingredients prepared with French flair. To learn more about the man behind the restaurant, click here.   


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