Delectable gooey, warm and cheesy macaroni ‘n’ cheese—a winter comfort food—is back on menus big time. You can find modern takes on the classic just about everywhere great food is served, from fancy steakhouses to craft beer joints. When your mac attack hits, head for these top Texas cheese havens.
Opulent Mac in Houston
At The Capital Grille, the entire menu is luxe so it’s no small wonder Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese is part of the plan. “Guests come in the bar frequently to split an order for dinner,” says managing partner Steve Joest. Baked in a small iron skillet and garnished with a tender whole crab claw, the presentation is all eye candy and seems to stay warm forever. The mac is comprised of elbow pasta, plentiful chopped lobster, plus three cheeses—nutty flavored gruyere, sharp cheddar and tangy parmigian oreggiano. It’s paved in crispy panko breadcrumbs for a delicate finish. Expect fork fights!
Crafty Mac in Fort Worth
Bacon makes everything better including the Bacon Mac ‘n’ Three Cheese at Brewed. Small but mighty, it’s delivered in a colorful crock baked au gratin style and bubbling over with wonderful local cheese. Make that Texas aged cheddar, smoked gouda and parmesan melted into béchamel sauce and tossed with macaroni. Tangy-sweet roasted tomatoes, crispy bacon crumbles and fresh Italian parsley take it over the top in flavor and add great texture. If you’re going to be bad, be really bad and chase it down with a flight of Texas craft beer.
Designer Mac in Austin
Chef-owner Shawn Cirkiel of Austin’s trendy Parkside creates an ultra thin crispy crust of parmesan and bread crumbs atop his made-to-order Macaroni, Gruyere, Cheddar side dish. “I love that it has a little bit of intensity from the fontina cheese and a touch of sharpness from the cheddar,” he says. This creamy mac, declared a top choice by Food & Wine magazine, is baked in a cocotte—a mini cast iron Dutch oven to keep it warm and beautiful. Careful, it’s hot!