Let’s be honest: Everyone has an opinion on which restaurant has the “best” mac and cheese in Boston. But with so many options out there, we decided to do a little extra digging to find some of the most unique versions of this classic dish. From a burger piled high with cheesy mac to the addition of tangy pulled pork, here are nine unconventional takes on your traditional mac and cheese that you can find around the Boston area. Next
Tavern in the Square’s buffalo chicken mac and cheese
Imagine taking all of the elements of a traditional buffalo wing plate (chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese, and carrots) and incorporating them together with Cavatappi pasta in a creamy four-cheese sauce. The end result is Tavern in the Square’s buffalo chicken mac and cheese. An extra bonus: the sweet corn hidden among the twisty noodles and the cheesy creaminess found at the bottom of the skillet.
Extra indulgence: Try the risotto fritters, oozing with pesto and mozzarella. The tomato cream sauce adds the perfect bit of sweetness.
The Fireplace’s steak mac and cheese
The Fireplace takes its traditional mac made with Landaff Creamery, fresh mozzarella, Cabot Cheddar, cave aged Gruyere, and asiago, and brings it to a completely different level by incorporating tender rib eye, horseradish, sweet caramelized onions, and topping it with lemony spinach. The cheese absorbs the flavors of the steak and onions to create a truly unique sauce.
Price: $18 (small)/$36 (large)
Extra indulgence: Try the pork and beans, made with cider braised pork belly. Enough said.
The Publick House’s mac and cheese with braised short ribs, truffle cream, and peas
There are many unique mac and cheese dishes out there, but how many places let you create whatever kind of mac and cheese you want? The Publick House offers more than 20 different types of add-ins, including cherry peppers, andouille sausage, and bacon. Executive chef Josh Harrison recommends adding braised short ribs, truffle cream, and peas to the traditional mac (pictured), made with Orrechetti pasta and a five-cheese sauce. The short ribs literally fall apart when you attack it with your fork.
Price: Varies based on add-in choices
Extra indulgence: Grab a side of the crispy fried Brussels sprouts. You think you know, but until you dip those bad boys in the bacon-horseradish aioli, you have no idea.
Ashmont Grill’s baked macaroni and cheese with bleu smoked cheese and sundried tomatoes
Sundried tomatoes give an unexpected salty/sweetness to this dish, and there’s just a hint of smoke from the “moody” bleu smoked cheese. The crisped crust is the perfect welcoming to the creaminess of the pasta and cheese underneath.
Extra indulgence: Order the Train Wreck fries, served with melted jack cheese, bacon, jalapenos, sour cream, and scallions. It’s a heaping plate of loaded fries goodness.
jm Curley’s cast iron barbecue pork mac and cheese
Why go to a barbecue joint and order pulled pork with a side of mac and cheese when you can throw them all together? When you visit jm Curley and order the cast iron mac and cheese with barbecue pork, you can experience just that. The cheese blend is made with Grafton maple smoked cheddar and Cottrell Old Yankee Ale, which is served in a skillet and broiled just long enough to create a crispy cheese layer on top. Be sure to kick it up a notch with the barbecue pork, which gives this dish an extra bit of tang.
Price: $12 (add $5 too “hook it up” with barbecue pork)
Extra indulgence: Add a side of the fried pickles. They have just the right amount of breading.
Silvertone’s mac and cheese with honey chile chicken
Silvertone’s mac and cheese has just the right ratio of pasta, cheese, chicken, and crispy breadcrumbs. The addition of honey chile chicken gives the classic dish an extra bit of spiciness you might not expect. Plus, if you love pulling apart a long string of cheese when you dig in, this version is just right for you.
Price: $9 ($11 with the addition of honey chile chicken)
Extra indulgence: Try the tomato and balsamic bruschetta. It’s loaded with sweet tomatoes and a great accompaniment to the cheesiness of the mac and cheese.
Boston Burger Company’s Mac Attack
Why order a regular cheeseburger when you can have a mac and cheeseburger? Boston Burger Company is known for its outside-of-the-box creations, and the Mac Attack is no exception. This burger takes the juiciness of a burger and smothers it with homemade four-cheese mac and cheese and bacon. If it’s been featured on The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives,” they must be doing something right.
Extra Indulgence: Add the garlic parm wedge fries — because what’s a burger without a side of fries?
Olde Magoun’s Saloon’s mac-n-cheese with kielbasa
Olde Magoun’s Saloon’s mac-n-cheese takes penne pasta and smothers it with a creamy cheese sauce and buttery, crisped breadcrumbs. Although you have several options for toppings, the addition of kielbasa gives the dish just the right amount of smokiness. Don’t fret if you eat up all of the mac – use the side of toasted bread to sop up all of the extra cheesy sauce that’s left in the bottom of the skillet.
Price: $11.95 (with kielbasa)
Extra indulgence: A slider bar? Yes, please. You have your choice of short ribs with provolone garlic mayo and crispy onions, knockwurst with swiss cheese ale-braised sauerkraut, or pulled pork with creamy coleslaw topped with pepper vinegar sauce.
Five Horses Tavern’s mac and cheese with pork belly
Five Horses Tavern’s variation of this classic dish provides an unexpected blend of cheeses, using a mix of bleu cheese, mozzarella, manchego, and provolone. Be sure to add the crisped, confit pork belly, the most popular addition to the mac, according to owner Sarah Hanson. It provides an extra bit of crunch to the creaminess of the sauce.
Price: $12 (add $3 for pork belly)
Extra indulgence: Try the Brussels sprouts, made with pork belly, pickled apples, and shiitake mushrooms. These sprouts are a clever twist on your typical roasted version.
Five Horses Tavern:
South End: 535 Columbus Ave., Boston. 617-936-3930. fivehorsestavern.com/south-end
Davis Square: 400 Highland Ave., Somerville. 617-764-1655. fivehorsestavern.com/davis-square Back to the beginning
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