Mizuna – Denver, CO
By now every place and their grandmother has lobster mac and cheese, which will make this review seem like a big “me too,” but as far as I’m concerned, this is the only place to ever get it right. I mean, just think about the dish fundamentally. Cheese and seafood? Not a frequent culinary combo (except maybe on a Filet-O-Fish at Mickey D’s) and for good reason. It’s why most people don’t get grated parm over linguini and clams. So, whoever had the idea of putting it on lobster was a bit of a loon in my opinion. Well, that is until I ate at Mizuna. You see, what makes Mizuna’s work and the others fail is the choice of cheese. A remarkably creamy mascarpone that teeters on being a sauce as opposed to melted cheddar. And as we all know, sauce and seafood go swimmingly together (sorry).
Virgil’s – New York, NY
The only way I can think to describe Virgil’s Mac & Cheese would be to call it “dirty.” Not as in unclean, but rather unrefined, visceral, crave-inducing naughtiness. For example, the spice alone puts this way up there for me, but it’s no secret. Just a healthy dose of black pepper. Yet it gives it this incredible hit that no other mac seems to grasp. The other thing they do is ever so slightly overcook it. Purposefully, to get that slight burnt crunch on the outer clumps of cheese, while still maintaining a glorious creamy blend of cheeses beneath that crusty epidermis. And that’s really it. Nothing more. But trust me, it is the Mac Daddy.