The quintessential American comfort food is the star of the show at the brand new Mr. Mac's Macaroni and Cheese. Located in the former Amato's Italian Sandwich Shop on Hooksett Road in Manchester, this classic dish is offered 14 different ways, not to mention the endless creations you can dream up by mixing and matching cheeses, meats, sauces and vegetables.I ordered a medium-sized Carbonara, which was a large portion for just one person ($9.99, small is $6.99). I finished every last bite, but I would recommend ordering a medium for two to split, and a small if you plan to eat one all by yourself. There is a large family portion as well ($16.99).The Carbonara comes with three cheeses - Parmesan-Reggiana, percorino and provolone, plus diced prosciutto for a nice hint of salty and smoky flavor. This isn't baked macaroni and cheese as it was ready in about 10 minutes, but it was piping hot and nicely browned on top. The cheese sauce was creamy and smooth, not at all grainy, and the cheese choices worked well together. The pasta was traditional elbow macaroni. Combinations range from the least expensive Classic All American with cheddar ($4.99, $6.99 and $11.99) to the priciest thing on the menu, the Lobstah ($9.99, $14.99 and $24.99).Another interesting flavor was the Mediterranean ($6.99, $9.99 and $16.99), which came with Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, goat cheese and mozzarella. Macaroni-and-cheese purists might scoff but will be swayed. There's everything to love about this simple dish.Food is ordered at the counter and there is a small dine-in area with seating. If you eat at Mr. Mac's, the pasta comes in cast-iron skillets on a wooden board with an oven mitt on the handle. Take-out and delivery are also available.
This article appears in the January 2011 issue of New Hampshire Magazine