Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Mac ‘n’ Cheese to Please

Great local takes on a comfort classic



Chef Jeff Holloway's ode to shells 'n' cheese at Boulevard Steakhouse.

Miranda Hodge

 

Ask people what kind of macaroni and cheese they ate growing up and their answer will get you close to their age. The transition from commodity cheese – part of the food allocation that preceded food stamps — to Velveeta to Kraft in a box marks three different generations. In fact, mac ‘n’ cheese is one of those foods, like mashed potatoes or fried chicken, that has the ability to bring us all happily to the table, even if we might quibble about the proper way to make it. 

 

As part of the Best Steakhouses this month, we looked at mac ‘n’ cheese from the city’s prime steakhouses, but it didn’t take long to figure out that the best versions of that dish aren’t in the steakhouses. (We understand the risk of saying “best” where something as deeply personal as macaroni and cheese is under consideration.) While Chef Jeff Holloway’s ode to shells ‘n’ cheese at Boulevard Steakhouse (505 S. Boulevard in Edmond) is stellar, the dish at The Hamilton Supperette and Lounge (12232 N. May Ave.) was the favorite.

 

“We were going to go with a radiatore pasta at first,” executive chef-partner Michael Paske says, “but after doing a few pop-ups, people kept telling us they preferred tubes.”

 

Perhaps the tubes go back to the classic elbow macaroni and cheese of our collective childhoods; they were the default pasta for generations of kids, even the weird microwave mac ‘n’ cheese. Paske grew up on “Kraft from the box,” and even admits to liking it a little even now. “It’s nostalgia, absolutely,” he says. 

 

“My great-grandmother used to make a house Boursin cheese for her macaroni and cheese, and that’s the inspiration for ours,” he continues. “Old-school Boursin was cream cheese and sour cream, so we’ve modernized ours quite a bit, and we use cavatappi to get the ridges and tubes that hold onto cheese so well.”

 

The Press, at 1610 N. Gatewood Ave. in the Plaza District, uses radiatore pasta for its sharp, tangy mac ‘n’ cheese, which also was a favorite — like the cavatappi, those noodles hold onto a ton of cheese. It also is available with chili or buffalo chicken. However, while delicious, toppings or additions should not be used to judge the base dish. Mahogany (two locations) has lobster mac and cheese. The crispy parmesan bread crumbs on top add a nice texture and the lobster is of course delicious, but the five-cheese blend got lost in all the cream. 

 

Chef Shelby Sieg of The Pritchard (1749 NW 16 St.) is a fan of radiatore pasta, too, mainly because of “all the grooves.” 

 

“The real challenge of radiatore is not to overcook it,” Sieg says. “It will fall apart quickly. I used Gruyere and fontina at home, but you can use any blend you like to get the flavor you want. There really are no rules.”

 

A pleasant surprise in the taste testing was the baked mac ‘n’ cheese at Carican Flavors, 2701 N. Martin Luther King. The cheese on top overcooks just a little, giving the dish a crunchy, darker flavor on top before you dive into the soft creaminess below. Other standouts included Off the Hook (two locations), Iron Star (3700 N. Shartel Ave.), Nashbird (1 NW 9 St.) and The Mule (1630 N Blackwelder Ave.).

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Weekend 101

See what's up in the 405!

TERRITORY AHEAD

The Grave of an Honest Man Stories in Stone: George Lowrey

A Life in Paint

The arresting, brilliant and often controversial work of Oklahoma artist Jeff Dodd in on display at Oklahoma City University for a very limited time.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2020

No Events
No Events
No Events
No Events

This quintessential New Orleans musical institution guarantees an electrifying night of music! The group will perform songs from their most recent releases as well as traditional New Orleans...

Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

An opera for our time. This stirring work delves into the life of Jim Thompson, the real-life Vietnam veteran who was the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, and the issues he faced...

Cost: $35-$50

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

By Tom Cipullo An opera for our time. This stirring work delves into the life of Jim Thompson, the real-life Vietnam veteran who was the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, and the...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We're poppin' champagne on the patio this Saturday and raffling off a bottle of Perrier-Jouet valued at $300! Come pre-party with us and DJ Catherine Ouellette from 6pm-10pm -...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
1, N Broadway Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

An opera for our time. This stirring work delves into the life of Jim Thompson, the real-life Vietnam veteran who was the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, and the issues he faced...

Cost: $35-$50

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags