National Velvet

The bistro comes to Midtown

You'd think that by sitting in the crossroads of New York (heck, the world), Midtown would offer office drones one dependable, go-to-anytime spot that's equally suited for a casual business breakfast and an after-work drink.

Geoffrey Zakarian has done just that with his latest offering, The National Bar & Dining Rooms, which opened last month (with considerably less fanfare than Zakarian's other new Midtown restaurant, The Lambs Club).

Although the latter is an accomplished pick for a nighttime romp, we'll return to The National's sunny dining room for lunch after lunch.

On that menu, Zakarian pulls from the body of French bistro classics and roughs them up with an American touch. A skate Grenobloise carries the normal trio of browned butter, briny capers and lemon, but adds roasted cauliflower and grapes ($20). The house-favorite branzino comes with grilled sunchokes and a chive pistou ($23). A Creekstone Farms steak shares a plate with crisp frites and perky mizuna ($26). And of course there's a proper burger ($15) and roast chicken ($21), too.

Free Wi-Fi and sweeping corner booths mean you can settle in and keep working through the afternoon with a glass of iced tea. The giant frozen-tea ice cubes it comes with give the perfect reason not to go back to work while you wait for them to melt (iced coffee gets the same treatment).

And with continuous dining from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., anytime can be lunchtime.

The National at the Benjamin Hotel, 557 Lexington Ave.; 212-715-2400 or thenationalnyc.com