mr. donahue’s, little italy – NOW CLOSED


I have to admit, I cheated a little and ordered Mr. Donahue’s through Caviar, but it arrived fresh and hot, so I think this review is legit.

First off, I love the concept of this restaurant. The meat and three (or two, in this case), is a hallmark of Nashville food, among other Southern cities, and it’s great to see it landing in New York. My dry-aged meatloaf (!) from here was phenomenal.

I, of course, ordered a side of the mac to sample. Similar to other Southern recipes, this is a very mild, creamy sauce. It’s not my personal favorite style of mac sauce because there’s no real bite to it, but I think it was executed very well. The pasta shape (it looked like the rarely-used capricci) was also well-suited for trapping the sauce. There was a sprinkling of fresh herbs and breadcrumbs on top, which didn’t really add much, but certainly felt in line with the 70s vibe of the restaurant and menu.

Would I order this mac again? Sadly, no, but I do recommend a trip here to sample the other outstanding sides and entrees.

203 Mott St., 646-850-9480


two tablespoons, union square

IMG_9572Most people have a love/hate relationship with the Union Square Holiday Market, but there is no denying that they have upped their food game in recent years. You can nibble on everything from Momofuku Milk Bar cookies to Sigmund’s Pretzels as you peruse dozens of booths of ornaments, artisanal salts and vintage posters.

This year I discovered the two tablespoons booth, which is located in what might be called the food court area of the market (near the George Washington statue). I saw someone carrying one of the cardboard bowls of mac a few booths away and followed the smell of cheese until I found it. While the owners don’t have a brick and mortar in New York, they sell at various markets around the city and will even cater events.

The booth seems to be selling at least two types every day: smoked Gouda and paprika, and goat cheese and rosemary. Since smoked Gouda might be my absolute favorite mac cheese, I obviously went for that. They top it with a sprinkling of panko right before serving, but otherwise this is a stovetop mac recipe (no baking, no crust).

While the paprika had a nice spice kick, I wanted more smoky flavor from the Gouda. But, I enjoyed how creamy the sauce was and I polished it off in minutes. I’d request it without the panko though; I think a breadcrumb topping is really only necessary when it’s a baked mac, otherwise it’s just kind of flavorless crunch. That being said, this is a pretty perfect snack while you’re making your way through the market and, as I’ve mentioned before, there are hardly any places that make tasty grab-and-go mac. Plus, it’s only available until the market closes up shop around Christmas, so try it soon!

Two Tablespoons, Union Square Holiday Market, Union Square