Friday, May 30, 2008

Lay the S'mac Down

What is there not to love about mac ‘n cheese?! And, more importantly, what is there not to love about a mac ‘n cheese restaurant?!?! Unless you’re lactose intolerant, you have no excuse! Many of you may know the goodness that I am talking about…S’mac. I had heard about this restaurant for years since it opened, but for some reason, never made it there. With my friend in from out of town, we decided to venture down to S’mac in the East Village to meet another friend for lunch.

For whatever reason, mac ‘n cheese is very popular in NYC and is easy to find on menus all around town, whether it’s as a side item or an entire entrée. Most of the time, they are pretty straightforward recipes, varying in the levels of cheesiness and crustiness. But S’mac takes it to an entirely different level. Sure, the basics are there…elbow macaroni and cheese, but that is about where the similarities stop.

The menu features 10 versions of mac ‘n cheese that literally take you around the globe, ranging from Parisienne to Alpine to Mediterranean to good ol’ American. Three sizes are available: Nosh, Major Munch, and Mongo. Let me tell you that this stuff is RICH…so unless you have a very hearty appetite, don’t be fooled by the seemingly small size of the Nosh.

Since I am literally the most indecisive person when it comes to ordering anything at a restaurant, especially one that has multiple varieties of the same thing, I quickly asked my friend if he was interested in sharing anything. We both wanted to be adventurous and try some of the creative mac ‘n cheese varieties, but felt like we couldn’t miss out on the All-American, the more typical version. It's said to be “just the way you remember it as a kid! Nostalgia at its finest.”

We decided to go with our own Nosh and then would split an All-American Nosh. I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Mac, with cheddar & American cheeses, boneless chicken pieces, and buffalo wing sauce, with the option to have it topped it off with crumbled blue cheese. It was so good, so rich, so cheesy, so spicy, and really tasted just like buffalo chicken…but with noodles! My friend got the Alpine, with gruyere and slab bacon, and really enjoyed the flavor. The All-American was phenomenal. It tasted how you expect mac ‘n cheese should taste, but turned up a few notches! And so fresh, right out of the oven with a nice crust on top. Our other friend got the La Mancha, but in the Major Munch size. She ate maybe 1/3rd of it! We helped her out a little, mainly because I wanted to be able to sample 4 varieties. This was probably the biggest departure from the traditional mac ‘n cheese, using manchego cheese with fennel and shallots.

If you’re thinking “holy crap” at this point, I’m right there with you! There was no way we were finishing all of this. Good news, we clearly weren't the only ones to have this problem. They have take-out containers sitting out so you can bring home the leftovers. And, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it reheated. For the health-conscious (although I'm not sure why these people would even be going to S'mac!), there are multi-grain and gluten-free pasta options available for every dish.

This is definitely not the type of restaurant I could dine at on a regular basis (way too rich!), but for a special treat, it is definitely worth getting a little s'mac-ed around!

S'mac
345 East 12th Street
b/t 1st & 2nd Avenue
website
Menu Pages listing

1 comment:

James said...

I had the Buffalo Chicken Mac one time at S'mac... it's great! Especially after a billion beers. :-/