Manhattan may be famous for its haute cuisine and innovative fusion foods, but sometimes people just want hearty meals that remind them of home. In 2006, owners Sarita and Caesar Ekya joked about a restaurant that only served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches alongside macaroni and cheese. They thought: what better way to end a night or start the weekend? Within a year, they had opened S'Mac, short for Sarita's Macaroni & Cheese.
Simple and straightforward, S'Mac specializes in creamy, stringy baked pasta with tempting twists for even the most refined taste buds. Patrons order at the counter, get a number, and find a seat wherever available. Five minutes later, a blazing cast iron skillet arrives, cheese bubbling and oozing off the sides. If you're here with a friend, try the Sampler so you can taste 6 different styles of macaroni and cheese at once.
Sizes range from Nosh and Major Munch to Mongo and Partay, and the styles run the gamut. Purists can order the All-American, a standard recipe of American and cheddar cheese. Carnivores can chomp into the Cheeseburger Mac. Meanwhile, eclectic aficionados can tackle the Mediterranean with goat cheese, spinach, and Kalamata olives; or the Cajun with Andouille sausage, peppers, and spices. Upscale twists include the Parisienne with Brie, roasted figs, and shiitake mushrooms or the La Mancha with fennel, onions, and Manchego cheese.
Two tap beers round out the comfort food cuisine. Choices include Allagash White, a smooth wheat beer from Maine as well as the Blue Point Lager from Long Island. Wine, juice, and soft drinks are also served.
Vegan and reduced-lactose options are available. Regular noodles can be substituted for multigrain or gluten-free elbow macaroni.
If you want to eat at home, head a few doors down to the take-out counter. Any S'Mac can be ordered and carried away. Or, ask for Take-n-Bake. They'll prep everything for you and box it up. Then when you get home, bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes for a pseudo-homemade meal.
I wrote about this place last year after I fell in love with their food. I thought "Eh it's Mac and cheese. I love it but how good can it be." It is absolutely amazing. Completely worth all the exercising afterwards. :)
By L.R. - senior writer Friday, 20th of May @ 10:45 pm
The allagash white is good here. Mediterranean is the best.
By Sal0 - reader Friday, 20th of May @ 11:09 pm
My sis in law always asks for the take and bake when we're in the neighborhood. good stuff