New York, NY. I have a soft spot for mac-n-cheese, one of my childhood splurges that seems to make things feel so very right. S'MAC, a mac-n-cheese specialty eatery located in New York's East Village came recommended from a friend's colleague. On a recent visit to the city, I added it to my "food to-do" list and ventured here with a friend of mine for an afternoon attempt at sheer cheesy indulgence. 

As a newcomer it seemed a bit daunting with no knowledge of what we were about to get ourselves into - buffalo chicken, cheeseburgers, or masala...all in a mac-n-cheese? Yes, here it becomes a customer's choice, whether it's a standard creation from the menu or a "build your own" option. Gluten-free alternatives are available for anything on the menu and reduced lactose and vegan are also choices to consider. If time is of the essence, take it home and bake it at home, with a refrigerated version of an order that can be made hot whenever it's meant to be eaten. If someone absolutely cannot decide they can order a sampler platter and split among friends with 8 different macs to try. My friend and I ordered a "Nosh" size and took our seats at one of the few high-tops available.

Parisienne Mac-n-Cheese
Parisienne Mac-n-Cheese - contained brie, roasted figs, roasted shiitake mushrooms and fresh rosemary made with a light bechamel. The noodles were soft, the crumbs crispy, and the cheese came hardened on top just like it would be in most home versions. The flavors combined well enough, though the addition of fig included a sweetness I wasn't prepared for, despite my knowledge of its individual flavor.  The brie was mildly discernable and the rest of the ingredients added texture and subtle taste. I liked it, but when I come back I'll go for a flavor that hits a bit closer to home: All-American or 4 Cheese. As with most mac-n-cheeses that are made to order, it can be a bit "fatty" or "slick" to say the least and using brie certainly made it more so.

Mac-n-cheese is a splurge, but often a shared one. As a specialty shop to stop in and taste that home-cooked flavor on-the-go, this eatery gets good marks. If there is a specific way it's made at home, order it that way and test the waters. It may be less than, just as, or more delicious, but still it will provide a comparative note for future dishes in a personal kitchen. For my fruits and veggies and helpings of protein, I'd go elsewhere, but for a fair sample of comfort food I'll keep this one on the list.

345 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 358-7912