HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

S'MAC Review

The first question is : why open a mac and cheese restaurant in the middle of the summer in the heat? and yeah and just have fans.
Perhaps to get the kinks out so they will be ready for fall 06'.

If you really want to check out S'MAC go early as it gets packed.
IT's an interesting concept and i am sure it will do well as the prices are reasonable.
A couple of things puzzled me there. Why are they making mac and cheese in a saute pan versus making them in large hotel pans.
That is the way mac and cheese is meant to be. IMHO
It will forever delay them and there will always be a line as it is cooked to order.
Also, they have these big orange chairs in a small place. It looks cool but takes up space.

The menu of manc and cheese offer a very creative mix of tasty items.
I choose to get two mac and cheese on the small portion size. All american mc and mozzerella mac and cheese with roasted tomotoes.

The all american is for the kids. lacks a lot flavor /for the simple palate. Plus it comes out in a oven to table dish, hot but perfect.
The mozzarella was tastier has hints of garlic as well. The roasted peppers didn't seem roasted- lacked that intense roast flavor.
but had better flavor then the regular mac and cheese.

I believe they will get it together and it will be interesting to see.
I mean i would go back but maybe later.
That's when i will try the mac and cheese with ground beef. for that wintery cold night.

Good luck.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I went tonight around 8ish. There was a long line that moved rather slowly. I was planning on eating there but the 100 degree temperatures inside (seriously) forced me and most of the other customers to take the food elsewhere.

    On to the food...

    I ordered the cajun mac with andouille sausage and my friend got the all american. While I did enjoy the sausage in the mac (something I've never tried before) I thought both dishes lacked that "cheesy" flavor that I have come to expect over the years. Maybe its because I usually prefer the homemade variety rather than ordering it out but I felt it was missing that distinct flavor I have grown accustomed to. Furthermore, the breadcrumbs were not baked into the dish at all. It was like they were just sprinkled on top before serving.

    That being said, I think the owners got in way over their head with a unique concept and some high anticipation (on this board and from their write up in Time Out) and just need to work out the kinks. They absolutely cannot handle the demand right now! I agree with the previous poster that it will probably take a cold, wintery night before I return.

    1. Saute pan? Do you mean SKILLET?

      I suggest you call or email them and give them some constructive criticism. Mention their strengths and opportunities.

      I have yet to go, but thanks for the info. on the heat. I do find it crazy that they expect people to heat hot food in a hot room.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cheftamara

        i apologize for not using the right terms for the pan.
        As for calling them, i don't know.
        Do i care that much?

      2. The gf and I went to check out S'mac last night, and like the previous 2 posters we couldn't take the heat - so we got out of the kitchen! I brought up the same point to her "why wouldn't you wait until fall to open a place like this?" It is really perplexing, the heat of the ovens combined with the humid summer made the thought of eating mac and cheese stomach turning - we went to cube 63 instead; I'll be back but not until an unusually cool summer day or the fall.

        1. Tried 5 different macs side by side:

          Greyer-EXCELLENT (like a pasta Croque Monsieur)
          Goat Cheese-EXCELLENT (like a pasta spinakopita)
          Brie-VERY GOOD
          Cajun-OK
          Basic American-BLAND

          1. When I heard about this place I was SO excited as I love mac and cheese. I finally dragged my boyfriend last week. What a disappointment. They have the nerve to ask if you’d like “bread crumbs” - I enthusiastically reply yes expecting mounds of it. Turns out to be a thin sprinkle of some seriously powdered down form.
            I ordered the Cheeseburger. Not enough cheese, onions, or flavor - so much for its name. My boyfriend ordered the Gruyere – it was cold and very bland.
            Also, it would be nice if one could eat mac and cheese with some cold beer, esp during the summer.
            I think I’ll stick with the mac and cheese at Del Friscos or the gnocchi and cheese at Quality Meats whenever I get a craving. So no standing in line for me for this place.

            1. I was hoping that everyone was just hating because they had high expectations/wanted it like their mom made. Even with all of the bad reviews, I went into it with optimism trying the garden and cheesebuger, breadcrumbs on both. The layer of breadcrumbs is just a sprinkling and both kinds were bland. The cheeseburger reminded me of hamburger helper (had a starchy flavor that I can't quite place) and the brown, undercooked cauliflower in the garden had a strange flavor too..maybe garlic salt instead of real garlic?..not sure but I'll be making my own the next time I have a craving.

              1. I noticed that nobody on this board tried the "Four Cheese"--it's not bad. However, the sharp cheddar is only melted over the top, making the top the only really good part.

                I have a feeling that it's much better than the American, though I didn't try it.

                PS: the best Mac & Cheese-like dish I've had is at Via Delle Zoccolette in the East Village. It was a while ago, but I think it was the "Fusilli in a fontina cheese fondue with black truffles"--at least that's what Menupages tells me.

                1. thanks for bringing up via delle zoccolette. i used to love that m&c but haven't been in awhile. i walked past the place the other day and thought it had changed (or at least the name of the dish). if it's the same - it's delicious!

                  1. Went to S'Mac today around 7'ish. No line, but no tables available either. However, the line formed pretty quickly as I was waiting for my food. The place seemed too small and it looked like the chairs were practically on top of each other. I actually liked the colors they used, though.

                    As far as the food, I ordered the 4 cheese m&c, and was slightly disappointed. It's not that it was bad, but it wasn't as good as it should have been. My standard at these "niche" restaurants is that it has to be better than what I can do at home. Unfortunately, S'Mac doesn't deliver that. I thought the mac and cheese needed to me much, much cheesier and the pasta itself seemed kind of bland and overcooked.

                    That said, the cheese and breadcrumb topping was great. They need to incorporate that into the actual mac and cheese instead of only having it as a topping.

                    Overall I would give it a second shot, although I'm not gonna be enthusiastically recommending it to my friends.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jp328x

                      Decided to post a follow up to this original post.

                      I've been back a couple of times and found a combination that I love. 4-Cheese M&C w/ extra cheese, slab bacon and breadcrumbs. I think the real key is the extra cheese which gives the M&C the texture I enjoy.

                      1. re: jp328x

                        Though not a big mac and cheese fan, I decided to give it a try for the first time. The gruyere and breadcrumbs with bacon was pretty good. The mozzarella, tomato, garlic, basel didn't do it for my daughter. Oh well, back to Una Pizza Napoletana next door.

                    2. My husband I went recently and I have to agree with the previous reviews. He got the Gruyere, which was okay but not even above average. I got the Garden and again, okay but average. I really think their kitchen needs improving. I agree with the previous poster who said if you specialize in something, it better be the best something I can get, or at least better or CHEAPER than what I can get at home. Neither was the case at S'Mac.

                      Great decor, though.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Anne Stez

                        Since they opened I have tried most if not all of their m&c varieties, and each time, I think to myself that "if this is all you make, why isn't it good?". It's such an easy dish, I just don't get what the fuss with this place is.

                          1. re: bastet212

                            I haven't been back in over a year. I initially kept going back because I was trying to convince myself that if they were so dedicated to this dish, that surely one of the varieties must have been special.

                            1. re: fishermb

                              i went back after being away for a year...got the four cheese.
                              it tastes like nothing...i mean nothing.
                              i wish it was good since it is right around the corner....but its not.