Remember back when you were little, and your mom would make you macaroni and cheese for lunch? How did she do it? Did she get the kind in a box? Was it Kraft? Annie’s? Or was it Easy Mac? Or did she make it from scratch? I’ve always felt there is a distinction in taste between homemade mac & cheese and from the box mac & cheese. While the store bought mac has the delicious flavors of processed food and preservatives, homemade just always tasted more like cheese. It was gooey and delicious. This is the way mac and cheese is made at Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese, more commonly known as S’MAC.
I must admit I hadn’t been expecting great quality mac and cheese when I entered the yellow and orange restaurant. I was expecting the same hurried varieties that you’d find at most restaurants that just want it as a quick sell on their menus. I was enthusiastic, but not excited. Despite my girlfriend, Brianna’s assurances that it would taste great, I was still resisting the urge to get my hopes up for fear of being let down.
When I first saw the menu I was slightly overwhelmed. There were a dozen different varieties of mac and cheese along with a “Build your own” option. Already I was surprised by the amount of styles and flavors presented to me. It was the freedom you’d find at a pizza parlor or a sandwich shop, presented in a mac and cheese setting. How odd, how imaginative, how wonderful!
I decided on one of the current specials, the Philly Cheese Steak mac, while Brianna had one of the “Sarita’s Recommendations,” Napoletana. We found a table and waited for our food, observing the various aspects of the orange interior as well as the various types of people occupying tables all over the store. There was a family behind us, kids all excited for the prospect of mac and cheese, while a few tables away there was a large group of teenagers, equally excited, digging into their own meals.
When our food came we took a moment to admire it. The mac and cheese at S’MAC is served in pans that come in three different sizes. I had the medium sized pan and was astonished by how big it now seemed sitting in front of me. Upon tasting, I did not regret the size. Underneath the baked and bread crumbed surface was a steaming pan of gooey, cheesy deliciousness. I could barely wait for it to cool before I dug in. All doubts I had had were immediately blown away. This mac and cheese was perfect. No store-bought processed flavor and no odd restaurant taste. It was truly homemade mac and cheese.
S’MAC offers carryout and delivery, visit their website for details.
345 East 12th Street (Between 1st and 2nd Avenues); 212-358-7912. http://www.smacnyc.com/home.html; L to 1st Avenue, 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R to Union Square. Sun – Thu 11am – 11pm, Fri & Sat 11am – 1am (Dine-in closes at 11pm).