The serving size was good for sharing across a few people who order entrees. It’s enough for one person as an entree itself, but I wouldn’t recommend it just based on my disappointment and because of the other great stuff on the menu.
It was slightly creamy, slightly gooey but not enough of either. It was a bit grainy, which I’ll attribute to cheddar, either the Tillamook or Beecher’s. I don’t know for sure because the menu didn’t specify and the waitress wasn’t too keen to share the recipe with me (understandably) after I told her I didn’t really like the dish. Cheddar can have great flavor, but it doesn’t melt well and, thus, leads to graininess and poor consistency in mac ‘n’ cheese. The Dinah’s cheese melts gooey, so I’m guessing that contributed the slight gooeyness when combined with the other two cheeses.
The other negative for me was the bland flavor. Sharp, white, aged or smoked cheddar give great flavor to whatever they’re added to, but this cheese sauce was really mild. I’m going to assume, again, that whatever cheddar was used was medium or mild; those lack the flavor of richer cheddars. The Dinah’s cheese is “fatty”, “golden” in color and “full flavored” so I can’t imagine this is the cheese (of the three) responsible for the bland flavor. I almost asked for some salt from the waitress just to give the dish something. (I opted not to, though, and instead ate my other side dish in its entirety and boxed the mac ‘n’ cheese so I could doctor it up at home.)
The mac came in a standard bowl and was topped with breadcrumbs. The top layer of mac and breadcrumbs was slightly crisp, but I’m not sure whether that’s due to sitting under heating lamps or if it was flash baked after putting in the bowl. Regardless, underneath is where the aforementioned slight creaminess and gooeyness was. I definitely found myself digging underneath for bites.
Aannnd after all that, I forgot my mac and cheese leftovers on the table at the restaurant…. doh!
The place: Local 360, Belltown – Seattle
The dish: Mac & Cheese, $16
The ingredients: Kurtwood Farms Dinah’s cheese, Beecher’s cheese, Tillamook cheese, shell pasta, bread crumbs
The verdict: Definitely eat at this great restaurant, just don’t waste your stomach space on the mac ‘n’ cheese.