Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Our editors, Brittany Braddock and Roxy Lenzo, host a battle royale to find the Best Mac in Soda City. Each month, we’ll bring you a review of three local restaurants’ mac and cheese. No mac is safe and neither are our waistlines. This month we run the gamut from fancy to frill-less:
Flavor: Delicious. A little sweet for my taste. I am way too used to eating spicy food so the amount of spice may have been perfect but to me it was a little too subtle so the sweetness of the lamb was more overpowering. Overall I would order it again. It was very good, just not what I was expecting.
Consistency: Creamy with the perfect amount of stringiness. Just enough to be melty and delicious without being messy.
Appearance: What a pretty dish! It was the fanciest mac and cheese I’ve ever seen.
Cheddar index: Well it wasn’t cheddar. Whatever that cheese was, I like it.
Terra’s Lamb Mac & Cheese is technically on the appetizer list, but in richness it makes a meal.
The crisp breadcrumb topping adds a balancing crunch to the bites of creamy goat cheese and tender noodles. Poblanos are not a spicy pepper, but I definitely felt a bit of heat build up as I devoured my bowl. The lamb is tender, bathed in a sweet sauce with hints of brown sugar. Reminiscent of barbeque mixed with the last bites of mac and cheese at the bbq buffet.
The gouda and goat cheese make the sauce irresistibly creamy with just the right amount of stringy cheese trailing off each bite. Elbow noodles keep the dish classic despite the unexpected additions. The sauce is rich, the lamb tender, the poblanos flavorful but I did find the lamb to be a little too sweet mixed with the mac and cheese. A great appetizer to split between a few friends, but a little overwhelming to make a meal of.
Flavor: Sweet, Cheesy, Spicy, a little confusing but delicious.
Consistency: Stringy, creamy, melt in your mouth
Appearance: The porcelain boat mimicked my dad’s mac and cheese growing up and the breadcrumb topping is perfectly browned. Beautiful!
Cheddar index: Cheesy excellence but the creamy goat cheese leaves nothing to be desired
I had no idea what to expect when biting into this delicious dish. The word that comes to mind is savory. It was my first time ever eating at Lamb’s Bread and holy wow it won’t be the last. A word of warning: it doesn’t taste exactly like traditional mac and cheese. It’s a bit more powerful in fact. Don’t do that thing where you go to drink diet coke and find out it’s sweet tea. Expect a flavorful punch and enjoy the ride. (While you’re at it, grab some of those amazing collards and BBQ “ribs” which will totally fool you into thinking they are real meat.) It’s also worth noting that the staff was so incredibly sweet and cheerful. It was a great experience all around. Yay!
Flavor: Savory, hearty, different in a great way
Consistency: Very creamy, dense
Appearance: Punchy color, delicious-looking
Cheddar index: Heavy on the “cheese”
Wait. What is a vegan restaurant doing on a mac and cheese tour? We know it seems odd, but once you take a bite of mac and “cheese”, or “spare ribs”, or collards you will be so enticed you won’t care there isn’t any bacon or real cheese. Push aside the cashew “cheese” imitations you’ve tried before, Lamb’s Bread has a cheese sauce that coats the elbow noodles with the same tenacity as velveeta but with an added spice. WHAT IS THAT SPICE? The mac and cheese is a side option to their “meat” of the day. Nine bucks for spare ribs, collards, and mac and cheese is comparable to most southern lunches especially considering the heaping portion. The upside is even when you clean your plate you can feel good that you ate something remotely healthy, right? I know this is a mac and cheese review, but I’d be remiss to leave off how incredibly tender and flavorful their collards are. This whole review is influenced and biased by how amazing the rest of the food on the plate tasted.
Flavor: Southern cheese sauce goodness.
Consistency: Creamy cheese sauce
Appearance: A beautiful plate of southern foods with little differentiation between their non-vegan counterparts.
Cheddar Index: No cheddar in sight, but the “cheese” sauce was a realistic, delicious substitute
This is no frills Southern macaroni and cheese. If you want to taste what your grandmother made, go to Yesterday’s. While it didn’t blow me away, it lived up to exactly what it was made to be. Pairs really nicely with some black pepper, rotisserie chicken, and collard greens (I’m a bit obsessed with collards). We are hoping to make it back for some of Yesterday’s ghost pepper mac and cheese. The dish could use a little punch for my attention-deficit taste buds.
Flavor: Traditional, comforting
Consistency: More noodle than cheese, but balanced
Appearance: Just like grandma’s mac in a casserole dish
Cheddar index: Moderate cheese
Looking for basic Southern mac and cheese? You’ve found it. The kind you expect at a down-home southern restaurant, a Lizard’s Thicket, or a BBQ buffet. Nothing fancy but hits the spot. This custard style mac features tender elbow macaroni with fluffy cheese surrounding every bite. Extra kudos if you get a serving with some of the delicious cheese crust.
Flavor: Straight-up comfort food
Consistency: Custard-style you can cut with your fork
Appearance: Good ol’ Southern cooking.
Cheddar-Index: The topping? Cheddar delight. The mac? Moderately cheddar.
What’s your favorite mac and cheese? Tweet at us @auntiebellummag and add it to our list!