Zakarian’s restaurants boast both food and entertainment.

Zakarian’s restaurants boast both food and entertainment. Credit: Zakarian’s restaurants boast both food and entertainment.

For many, Sunday nights are best spent at home on the couch, catching "Girls" or "Downton Abbey," depending on your taste. But chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian has a different idea for what makes a perfect Sunday: dinner with your friends and family.

To that end, Zakarian has created a warm, cabaret-style vibe at his Midtown East restaurant The National (557 Lexington Ave., 212-715-2400,

In addition to comfort foods like steak frites and pork chops, the restaurant offers live music at the weekly "The National Sessions."

When we stopped by recently, a jazz band played in the bar area and was pleasantly audible in the main dining room as well.

Zakarian says he just wants to bring "good, cool music" to his restaurants. His other restaurant, The Lambs Club (132 W. 44th St., 212-997-5262,, features live jazz on Wednesday nights and at Sunday brunch, and is introducing piano music on Monday evenings. A recent Monday featured "Star Trek's" George Takei singing.

The mixing of live music and fine dining might seem old-school, but Zakarian says the trend "never left."

It "just went quiet," Zakarian wrote in an email.

The chef is also a music lover wanting to do right by artists. "There are so many great musicians out there that we wanted to showcase," he said.


Where food and entertainment meet

Other places to enjoy live music while you eat

Bar Tabac, 128 Smith St., Boerum Hill, 718-923-0918,
This Brooklyn French bistro, which on nice days has guests spilling into the street just like in France, hosts jazz four times a week.

Carnegie Club, 156 West 56th St., 212-957-9676,
This classic cocktail and cigar lounge, one of the only places in New York where you can light up indoors, hosts "Saturdays with Sinatra" every Saturday night at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., starring Steve Maglio and the 11 piece Stan Rubin Orchestra.

Beaumarchais, 409 West 13th St., 212-675-2400,
This neighborhood brasserie hosts music and entertainment many nights of the week, and has a cabaret burlesque night every Wednesday.

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