I think French-style macaroni and cheese is definitely a category all its own. The sauce is usually thinner than American versions and it almost always is finished with a few seconds under the broiler. “Le Mac & Cheese” at new spot Maison Hugo is no exception and might even be the textbook version of this variation.
Here, the mac is doused in Mornay sauce (like a Bechamel but with shredded Gruyere and egg yolk added), mixed with Emmenthal and Parmesan cheeses, and studded with French ham. Even with the Mornay, this is on the lighter end of the mac and cheese continuum. The pasta and ham are only lightly coated with sauce and cheese, so this isn’t a gut-bomb of a dish. Plus, the portion is fairly small (but not too small), so you can polish it off and feel satisfied without getting rolled out of there.
My personal preference is for a slightly gooier mac, but the blend of ingredients in Maison Hugo’s version make it a very solid dish. The saltiness of the ham mixed with the light Mornay is a very French and very tasty combination.
Maison Hugo, 132 E. 61st St, 212.832.0500