When I posted our first Quintessential Mac & Cheese Roundup in 2008, I was certain we would soon run out of restaurants that served Mac & Cheese, and then the idea of a yearly roundup would be a thing of the past. Well, either I was way wrong about the number of restaurants that serve Mac & Cheese or an increasing number of restaurants have recently added the divine macaroni to their menus. Either way, there now seems to be no danger of running out of stellar renditions of this most delicious dish. My ooey-gooey-cheesy cup runneth over!
Gastro pubs are all the rage in Seattle these days. I’m somewhat guarded in my enthusiasm. I love the casual atmosphere, as I am often dressed in running shoes, leggings, and one of my vast collection of wacky Hawaiian shirts. Not restaurant worthy, in other words. But hungry nonetheless.
I’m guarded, because although I love the general vibe of these latter day taverns with their rustic slap dash look, open beam ceilings, picnic tables, and second-hand lighting, the food can be ill conceived or even an afterthought. Good idea. Poor execution.
However, I assure you that this is not the case with Smith on Capitol Hill in Seattle. As I walked by a street-side diner at the restaurant this evening, I did a double take on a plate of something rich, brown, gooey and highly aromatic. It turned out to be Poutine Fries with Cheese Curds and Gravy. I must have been drooling, because the lovely woman eating the dish actually offered me a bite. You have to LOVE Seattle, folks!
This just in folks. In our continuing search for the very best Macaroni and Cheese that Northwest (and beyond) restaurants and cafes have to offer, we have another winner! Astral Mac & Cheese, from the West Seattle blast-from-the-past diner, West 5, easily sailed into the upcoming Quintessential Mac & Cheese Roundup 2009.
Macaroni and Cheese is one of the easiest dishes in the world to prepare and surely one of the most wonderful, which probably accounts for the million-and-one versions that hurried, hungry folks have come up with over the years. (If you read to the end of this post, you will get to my most fabulous rendition, which I promised you a few weeks ago in Quintessential Mac & Cheese, Part 1, which reviews the best of all the Mac & Cheese I ate last year in Seattle, Portland, and Boston restaurants, complete with photos.)