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Sep 8, 2008 03:10 AM

Best Mac n Cheese In LA?

Cafe Des Artistes makes a mean one with a killer crust and a delicious blend of cheeses... but my nomination for best has got to be the jalapeno mac at Citizen Smith. Can anywhere else compete??

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  1. It's one of the few things at Lola's edible BEFORE you consume a half-dozen martini-shaped fruity freshman girl drinks, and one of the stars of the menu at Kate Mantílíní.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      What are the ingredients at Lola's and Kate Mantilini? Are these the fancy or the simpler recipes?

      Also, how does Mac n Cheese at Clementine or Joan's on 3rd compare to the best restaurant versions? MnC is more of a take out kind of food after all..

      1. re: karamazov

        One other place you might enjoy for the Mac 'n Cheese is Surfas in CC.

        Mac And Cheese $6.95
        With Your Choice Of Topping:
        Cajun Style Corn, Nueske Applewood Smoked
        Bacon Bits, Fresh Herb And Garlic Bread Crumb

        1. re: karamazov

          It's pretty standard fare... mac, cheese sauce, breadcrumbs.

          1. re: karamazov

            the mac at Joan's on 3rd is actually really good. Still creamy when reheated with a nice crispy crust. But also check out Paddy Mac online. They deliver it to you hot, cool, or frozen (heats up perfectly well) and they have some awesome flavors.

          2. re: Das Ubergeek

            Was at Lola's two weeks ago and I think the mac 'n cheese went downhill from what I remembered. The crust was too sharp cheddar and salty and the cheese sauce too thin. But yes, one of the few edible things at Lola's to accompany the "martinis".


          3. Any discussion of mac and cheese needs to define what, exactly, you define as m&c. Those who grew up on Kraft or Stouffer's are probably more used to a mornay-sauce base, typically made in a saucepan, and often but not always (imho) lacking in cheese flavor -- more like pasta with yellow cream sauce. Others, like myself, grew up with casserole-style m&c, pasta mixed with shredded cheese, topped with breadcrumbs and baked.

            I'm partial to the jalapeño-laden "mac daddy and cheese" at Fred 62; I also like the creamier, cheesier version at Musso & Frank. But my favorite may be the sinfully-rich appetizer-sized serving at The Kitchen.

            Fred 62
            1854 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            The Kitchen
            4348 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

            Musso & Frank Grill
            6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

            4 Replies
            1. re: maxzook

              Pasta mixed with shredded cheese, butter, and MILK (or .5 & .5); otherwise, if you bake it long enough to get a great brown crust on top, the whole thing will be a lump of concrete and steel splinters. The trick is to be absolutely fearless: undercook the pasta and wash in cold water; add enough milk and, especially, cheese to frighten a small village; and overcook the composed casserole, because those brown tidbits are so tasty. The milk will keep your inner pasta creamy and tender to the tooth.

              That's the way I like my mac n' cheese, especially when I throw in a little chopped chili, onion, and cilantro and top with more parmesan than breadcrumbs. Are there any LA restaurants that follow this general approach?

              1. re: sbritchky

                Start a restaurant with that recipe and I'm there!

              2. re: maxzook

                Too funny, I read the OP and thought "Well, I would say Fred 62, Musso's and the Kitchen". You have excellent taste! :)

              3. I haven't been impressed with much else on their menu but I swear to God, the Mac & Cheese at Rush Street (Culver City) is the best I've ever had. It falls into the "more cheesy than creamy" category.

                1 Reply
                1. re: recovering_vegetarian

                  Yeah, I had it last night and it wasn't creamy... nor was it nuanced enough for me. For similar vibe, I perfer the one at Luna Park.

                  My absolute FAVORITE though came from Porkys... Super Creamy and flavorful...



                2. i never hear anything about it here but the lobster mac and cheese at formosa cafe on santa monica near the bev-mo is awesome. the ribs and wasabi mashed are great too.

                  1. I've enjoyed the mac n' cheese at Nook, Violet, and Dakota.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Juji

                      I had the mac n cheese at Nook the other night (first time there). It's delightful. Very creamy with large soft noodles and a bread crumb crust. It's yellow cheese, so if you grew up with Kraft like I did, you'll probably like it.

                      And you get a LOT of it. More than we could eat.

                      The MnC at Cafe des Artistes is served in a similar size, and similar topping, but with white cheese, which is also delicious, but it's richer tasting.

                      In both cases, you really need to order it as a side that two people can share. The portion is quite large.

                      1. re: lil mikey

                        Funny, but I tried Nook's mac and cheese the other day for the first time was decidedly unimpressed. I love Kraft and yellow mac and cheese (for comparison, I absolutely love the mac and cheese they sell in the Gelson's deli counter). I found Nook's to be very bland and the bread crumb crust didn't really add much. Very disappointing.

                        1. re: lil mikey

                          I had the mac & cheese at the Nook for lunch the other day. It was good and creamy, but I thought it needed a little salt. And it wasn't super cheese-flavored.

                          Still, it was good.

                          Another very rich mac & cheese is at the Brentwood Restaurant.

                          1. re: lil mikey

                            I adore the mac and cheese at Nook! You're right, it's a relatively large portion and I think, meant for sharing as a side dish.

                            It's creamy and has the right amount of cheese flavor (without being overwhelmingly cheesy). The bread crumb crust provides the right amount of texture.