Middle Ground

A breath of fresh (local) air hits Midtown

The dearth of quality dining in Midtown makes those workweek meals a challenge. And though the paint is practically still drying at The Shop restaurant in the gorgeous new Andaz 5th Avenue hotel, the new dining option has already struck a much-needed balance between corner cart and tablecloth.

Step into the front alcove for a cup of Blue Bottle coffee and you might leave with more than you bargained for: The walls are lined with artisanal entries such as Beekman Farms soap, Rick's Picks and Mast Brothers chocolate‚Äďall rarely found above 14th Street.

Linger longer in the main dining room over skillet scrambled eggs with chorizo, tomato and potato ($12) or Feather Ridge Farm poached eggs with kielbasa and griddle bread ($12). Those seeking simpler flavors can try the Dutch pancakes with organic pears and Greek yogurt ($13).

As morning turns into midday, eggs give way to locally driven salads (arugula, prosciutto and roasted stone fruit; $9) small plates (grilled skirt steak, sweet potatoes and red endive with cilantro dressing; $12) and a rotating blue-plate special (such as oven-roasted pork with potatoes and escarole; $15) to break up the drabness of your ordinary take-out affair.

Just don't blame us if you're late to work.

Andaz 5th Avenue, 485 Fifth Ave. (at 41st St.); 212-601-1234 or andaz.com