blue smoke, gramercy

photo credit: melissa hom

photo credit: melissa hom

When I first moved to the city, I was very fortunate to have a best friend who not only worked for Mario Batali, but later Danny Meyer (shout out to Trinity College!). One of the best perks of this (for me), was being able to call her at work and ask her to bring home some goodies for dinner. When she managed events at Meyer’s Blue Smoke, it was both a dangerous and delicious time in my life. While the entire menu is pretty rad (I’m looking at you, chocolate layer cake), there’s no doubt that their best item — and best selling — is their macaroni and cheese. It also gets bonus points for holding up pretty well after a subway ride.

What I love about this particular mac is the sauce. When it arrives at your table (or on your couch if you’re lucky), the top layer is spotted like a rich bechamel. Underneath is a superbly creamy, velvety sauce that coats each elbow noodle. The key to the sauce’s unctuous quality is that it’s actually made without flour: the base is composed of onions, garlic, vinegar and heavy cream (and some secret ingredients scores of people have tried to uncover to no avail). A mix of American and Cheddar is then added, ensuring a super melty, almost stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth thickness. Finally, each batch is broiled to order, meaning you never get a bad rendition.

I mentioned earlier that I had “destination macs.” This certainly falls under that category and is always one of my top recommendations when someone asks for suggestions.

Blue Smoke, 116 East 27th St., 212.447.7733

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