Mac and cheese is a cherished comfort food, and beyond being a frequent kid’s menu favorite, there are a slew of spots around New York City dishing up decidedly adult takes on the creamy creation. Whether swimming in a mix of aged cheeses, topped with a crispy, bubbly crust, or peppered with bacon or mushrooms, there are some seriously excellent styles of mac and cheese at the places ahead.Read More
14 Decadent Mac and Cheese Dishes in NYC
The creamiest, richest, cheesiest versions to devour
Earl's Beer and Cheese
Cheese is just as important as the brew selection at this Upper East Side spot, so unsurprisingly, the mac and cheese is impressive. Instead of a familiar-for-the-genre choice like cheddar or jack, Earl’s opts for goat cheese with rosemary. The effect is herbaceous and quite creamy.
The mac and cheese at this popular Upper West Side brunch spot is a standout. Choose from a generous, shareable side portion or an entree version, both stuffed with four varieties of cheese — aged NY State cheddar, Pecorino-Romano, American, and mozzarella. The meal-sized version gets brûléed, making for a crunchy-on-top, molten-below finish, and is topped with creamy mushroom sauce as a final flourish.
Popular Astoria brunch joint Queens Comfort has all kinds of rich — and effectively hangover-soothing — dishes on offer, considering the focus is comfort fare. Its mac and cheese comes either with bacon and scallions, blended with bechamel, cheddar, and fontina cheeses (pictured here), while the truffle mushroom version contains bechamel, fontina, and cheddar. Or, opt for deep-fried orbs of the stuff, called “atomic fire balls” and served alongside ranch and sriracha.
The agreeable local chainlet — though often decried as basic — definitely knows how to deliver satisfying comfort food dishes. That unsurprisingly includes mac and cheese. Here, it comes in a miniature cast iron dish and filled with a blend of cheddar, Fontina, Gruyère, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. A stint in the oven develops a satisfyingly crunchy crust.
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
This Seattle import’s deft touch with aged dairy is on display in its mac and cheese, with a sharp yet creamy mix of a cheddar-Gruyere mix, Jack, and some cream for good measure. Most unusual is its choice of noodle: penne, which makes for a toothsome experience. While it doesn’t need any accessorizing, optional add-ons include pork belly; crab, Old Bay aioli, and bread crumbs; or balsamic mushrooms and fennel. It’s offered downstairs in the Cellar restaurant portion, as well as for takeaway by the cup upstairs in the Cafe.
Bell Book & Candle
At this spacious West Village restaurant, the mac and cheese contains a whopping five cheeses: Knockanore smoked Irish cheddar, gruyere, cheddar, gouda, and parmesan. The result is a take on the dish that’s equal parts creamy and smoky.
S'MAC East Village
Short for Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese, S’MAC serves up its myriad versions of the namesake dish in personal cast iron skillets. Go for a classic with the four-cheese option, filled with cheddar, Muenster, gruyere, and a bit of Pecorino. Or opt for an unconventional order, like the Mediterranean, with goat cheese, sauteed spinach, kalamata olives, and roasted garlic, while the Cajun contains cheddar and pepper Jack cheeses, plus andouille sausage, green pepper, onions, celery, garlic, and Cajun seasoning. Any variety can be ordered with regular, multi-grain, or gluten free elbow macaroni, so it’s a good choice for diners with dietary restrictions.
Murray's Mac & Cheese
West Village cheese institution opened this offshoot dedicated to mac and cheese in February 2019. Executive chef David Elkins, an alum of Per Se and the NoMad Hotel, made several varieties beyond the traditional variety including one with buffalo chicken and a bacon-studded take on French onion soup, with gruyere and raclette cheeses. But the plain original version is exemplary, too, constructed with a four-cheese blend and topped with seasoned bread crumbs. Custom orders are also an option.
Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter
This popular, low-key purveyor of Southern fare serves up long, ringlet-like macaroni, pleasantly congealed with cheese and adorned with crispy, browned crust. Bobwhite’s version is also available at both Urbanspace food halls in Midtown East.
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Takeout is the move at this pint-sized Soho spot opened in 2009 by the team behind Delicatessen next door and Cafeteria in Chelsea. It’s devoted completely to mac and cheese, and the dozen options include the carbonara, with pancetta, peas, and parmigiano or the mac ’shroom, with roasted mushrooms, fontina, mascarpone, and truffle oil. Order the large size to nab one of the reusable elbow noodle-shaped yellow plastic dishes.
Root & Bone
The fried chicken may hog the spotlight at this East Village Southern joint, but the mac and cheese is worth a try, too. It’s made with long, curly noodles, with a mix of cheddar and Gruyere cheeses, diced onion, Creole mustard, and paprika and comes topped with an unusual twist: buttery crumbled biscuits. Order it as a side dish to accompany the Southern classics on offer, like shrimp and grits and biscuits and gravy, or, at brunch, it comes with the fried chicken.
To experience the classic dish in a creative format, head to Shopsin’s, the eccentric luncheonette-type spot with a dizzyingly massive menu of quirky creations. Originally in the West Village for years before it relocated to a tinier space in Essex Street Market on the Lowe East Side, the menu’s beloved oddities remain, like mac and cheese pancakes. Fans of a particularly crispy, crunchy crust to balance out gooey elbow noodles will dig the large expanse of these pancakes’s griddled, crunchy bottoms.
The Williamsburg burger-centric spot (unaffiliated with DuMont proper since 2014) does more than patties. Its mac and cheese, dubbed “DuMac and cheese,” is a traditional version, made with Gruyere, sharp white cheddar, and cream, topped with breadcrumbs for a pleasant crunch.
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Mac Shack NY
The gloriously gloppy dish is the star of the show at this Clinton Hill spot. The extra-cheesy pans of mac and cheese are served straight from the oven in the tins they’re baked in and come in both traditional and tricked-out versions, packed with things like lobster or pesto chicken. Mac Shack takes its commitment to the comfort food a step further with unusual formats stuffed with the wriggly, long noodles, like its macwich, pictured here. There’s an outpost in Jamaica, too.