Dining Out: S’Mac

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Photo courtesy of Nick Sherman/flickr A delicious and perfectly cheesy meal for any day is found at S’MAC.

By GIRISH SWAMINATH

ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

Photo courtesy of Nick Sherman/flickr A delicious and perfectly cheesy meal for any day is found at S’MAC.
Photo courtesy of Nick Sherman/flickr A delicious and perfectly cheesy meal for any day is found at S’MAC.

Sarita’s Macaroni and Cheese, S’MAC, situated in the East Village on 345 East 12th Street, offers several variations on the classic cheesy pasta dish. As an excessively selective food connoisseur (thanks to my mom’s cooking) and avid lover of traditional American mac’n cheese, I was initially skeptical of the idea of eating at a mac’n cheese restaurant. Nevertheless, I decided to embrace my adventurous side and embark on a journey to S’MAC. Besides, the fact that the restaurant is owned by a fellow Indo-American assured me somewhere in the back of my mind that it would appeal to my taste buds.

After taking the 4 train and walking five blocks to Union Square, I finally reached my destination and was left relatively unimpressed by the surrounding area, even though it seemed to be incredibly hipster and unique. However, when I walked into S’MAC, I truly loved the cozy, café-like atmosphere. The setup of the restaurant reminded me of a smaller version of Starbucks without the coffee, where I felt immediately comfortable upon sitting down. On the other hand, the size of the restaurant, especially considering its popularity and rave reviews in The New York Times, is too small to handle the number of customers eating during peak hours, such as Friday or Saturday nights. As more individuals began coming in, the restaurant became increasingly cramped. For a split second, I thought that perhaps S’MAC needed to move to a larger location, but the small size and close-knit environment accurately captures the paradoxical feel of the East Village: crowded yet mysterious.

S’MAC offers mac’n cheese options that are typically associated with the flavors of different regions throughout the world. The varieties include Buffalo Chicken, Cheeseburger, Four Cheese, Masala (Indian style), La Mancha (Spanish style), Cajun (New Orleans style), Parisienne (French style), Garden Lite, Mediterranean, All-American and Napoletana (pizza style) macaroni and cheese. Besides the options offered, customers are allowed to select ingredients and customize their own orders. For each dish, vegan/dairy-free, reduced lactose, whole grain and gluten-free options are provided. Moreover, there are four different sizes: Nosh (smallest), Major Munch, Mongo and Partay (largest).

My friend and I ordered a Major Munch Parisienne and Masala mac ‘n cheese, respectively, and we decided to share our dishes. Our macaroni and cheese orders were served burning hot in skillets, lightly baked with breadcrumbs and a layer of melted mozzarella cheese. Tabasco sauce, ketchup, oregano, basil, red pepper, parmesan cheese and black pepper were given on the side, and let me tell you, as skeptical as I was trying it, mac ‘n cheese with ketchup is the tastiest combination ever. The food was divine, especially relative to the depressing, snowy weather.The temperature, consistency of cheese sauce in terms of macaroni and taste were especially perfect.

As “cheesy” as it sounds, I am in love with S’MAC. The restaurant is comfort food at its finest, and I would highly recommend it to everybody, especially on a cold, melancholy day!

Ratings:

Overall: 4.5 stars (only because I believe that 100% perfection is impossible)

Location: 3 stars

Food Quality: 4.5 stars

Atmosphere: 3.5 stars

Hospitality: 3.5 stars

Price: $

(Out of 5 stars)