I know that macaroni and cheese never really left – it was merely on a brief hiatus during the summer months. But now that we’re all starting our winter hibernation diets, mac and cheese is back, baby! True to form, New York City’s mac and cheese is extremely diverse. Here are some of the best this comfort food-obsessed town has to offer, from Mexican fusion to Parisian-inspired imports.
The Green Table
Photo credit: Linda Pugliese
The macaroni and cheese at The Green Table
falls under their “Classics” menu and rightfully so – this is comfort food at its finest, cheesiest, and most decadent. They use four cheeses, including fresh goat cheese from Hudson Valley’s Coach Farm
, mild Colby
, and raw milk Cheddar from Neighborly Farms
of Vermont, and Parmesan from a local importer who focuses on high quality, organic Italian cheeses. The tangy-savory blend is topped with herbed breadcrumbs and baked for a piping hot, ooey-gooey finish.
Green Chili Mac & Cheese at Mexicue
There are many mad mash-ups on Mexicue
’s Mexican-BBQ fusion menu, but possibly none more signature than the Green Chile Mac, a stalwart from the restaurant’s humble food truck beginnings. The team hacks a classic mac and cheese and packs it with oodles more flavor and heat, incorporating home made salsa verde and charred jalapeno peppers into the base, and melting in white cheddar, cheddar jack and queso cotija
, a sharp, finely grated Mexican cheese. As for the choice of noodle, they use a stubby pasta called radiatori
(looks like, you guessed it, a radiator), whose ridges seem tailor-made for engulfing the fiery, molten sauce. Order up a side of mac with their green chile brisket tacos, you know, for balance.
Murray’s Classic Mac & Cheese at Murray’s Cheese Bar
The secret to the habit-forming mac n cheese at cheese powerhouse Murray’s Cheese Bar
is a double-dose of a tri-cheese blend. They make a classic béchamel sauce, and mix in shredded Cheddar, an alpine-style cheese such as Gruyere or Comte, and a super melter cheese with a bit of funk, like Spring Brook Farm’s Reading
, a raclette-style Apline cheese. Additionally, the dish is finished with a sprinkling of all three shredded cheeses along with a scattering of house made breadcrumbs and a touch of parsley and lemon. The combination adds up to an irresistible texture – a silky, balanced sauce within and a crispy crust outside – for a total knockout mac and cheese.
Le Parisienne at S’MAC
Where else would you find some of the best mac and cheese in this city than at dedicated macaroni and cheese emporium S’MAC
(short for Sarita’s Macaroni and Cheese)? Le Parisienne is American mac and cheese’s sophisticated, international city girl cousin, and one of chef/owner Sarita Ekya’s proudest creations. Among her roster of crazy creative flavor mash-ups, she really wanted to develop one that featured Brie. She takes the rind off Swede Farms
Brie, adds diced dried figs, fresh rosemary, and roasted Shiitake mushrooms for an incredible dose of savory-sweet umami, and bakes it in the oven until bubbly and golden brown. Just like its namesake, the dish has that certain je ne sais quoi
that makes the dish completely irresistible.
“World’s Best” Mac & Cheese at The Cellar at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
Of course the good people at Beecher’s
think their mac and cheese is the “World’s Best,” especially since they use their very own Flagship
and Just Jack cheeses as the stars of the dish. But the claim really isn’t a stretch – this is mighty fine mac and cheese. It’s baked in a buttered baking dish and finished with a dusting of chili powder – yes, chili powder. It’s crazy but it works – the hint of spice pulls out the nutty undertones of the Flagship cheddar and cuts the insane creaminess lent by the Just Jack. It should also be noted that at The Cellar
there is a dedicated mac and cheese menu, boasting creative combos like curried cauliflower and sweet onion or balsamic mushroom and fennel.
The Four Cheese at Delicatessen
There are many tempting choices on the ‘Macbar Style’ menu at self-proclaimed international comfort food haven Delicatessen
. But if ever there were a mac and cheese on steroids, this would be it. The four cheeses in the namesake dish actually refer just to the cheese blend topping. There are actually seven – that’s right, seven – types of cheese in this dish, engineered for the sheer purpose of satisfying the extreme lactose lover. For the topping there’s smoked Gouda, soft and crumbly queso blanco
, super melter Fontina, and fruity-nutty Emmental
. Within, there’s a blend of rich and creamy Italian Mascarpone
, white Cheddar, and classic yellow Cheddar. If that seems like cheese overload, and you crave a bit of meat with your noodles and cheese, opt for the Mac Quack, which combines shredded duck confit, caramelized onions, white cheddar, and Fontina to super-savory effect.
Artisanal Mac & Cheese at Artisanal Bistro
With a cheese shop and a cave full of artisan cheeses at their disposal, it’s no wonder that Artisanal
’s four-cheese mac and cheese breaks the mold (no pun intended, I swear!). For the base, they bypass standard cheddar in favor of a trio of mountain cheeses like Gruyere
, and Comte
, selected for their distinctive, earthy flavor profiles. The luxurious sauce clings perfectly to the fine ribs of the penne regatta noodles, and the hot, gooey center is offset with their signature topping of grated Parmesan
, fried Panko breadcrumbs, and butter. The resulting dish strikes a perfect balance across consistency (not too cheesy and not too dry), taste (not too savory), and texture.