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On the East Facet soul meals restaurant Mrs. Kitchen, they had been taking orders from the porch of the previous home, their voices sturdy and agency over the noise of automobiles pulling right into a makeshift drive-thru line, a line born of necessity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The eating room’s nonetheless closed at Mrs. Kitchen. However we’d like our consolation meals, and we’ll do no matter it takes to get fried rooster and greens and candy potatoes. However most of all, macaroni and cheese, that the majority emblematic of the consolation meals, its amber waves of beige filling us with the hope, nevertheless fleeting, that every little thing will probably be OK.
We discovered good mac and cheese at 5 eating places throughout San Antonio. At Mrs. Kitchen, after all. But in addition on the West Facet Jamaican walk-up stand The Jerk Shack and the cheeky Southern outpost Ida Claire out by the Alamo Quarry Market. Mac and cheese has emerged as a barbecue joint staple, and we discovered good ones at 2M Smokehouse on the South Facet and Smoke Shack on Broadway.
It’s a mac assault. Maintain on tight. Issues are about to get messy.
The smile traces past his masks made it clear that our waiter’s thought of consolation was lastly coming again to work after the pandemic shut down the eating room for 2 months at this quirky Southern transplant from Dallas that opened in October.
My thought of consolation was Pimento & Pig Mac N’ Cheese ($7), a rowdy pile of pasta shells coated in thick cream sharing a bowl with fats items of roasted pork and sharp little bites of pimento, completed with crispy breadcrumbs. 7300 Jones
Maltsberger Highway, dine-in and takeout/supply, 210-667-2145, ida-claire.com
On ExpressNews.com: Overview: Mrs. Kitchen will get to the center of soul meals on the East Facet
The Jerk Shack
Even because it processes the celebrity of being named certainly one of GQ journal’s finest new eating places within the nation, The Jerk Shack nonetheless finds time to make its mac and cheese to order, in-built a pan like a educated chef, which is what co-owner Lattoia Massey, aka Nicola Blaque, occurs to be.
The Jamaican walk-up stand’s Jerk Wings N Mac ($14) is likely one of the metropolis’s finest dishes, with a trio of jerk-spiced fried rooster wings lighting a hearth beside the mellow tones of agency elbow macaroni in a wealthy bechamel-style sauce with cheese broiled excessive. The mac’s additionally accessible as a aspect for $6. 117 Matyear St., 201-776-7780, takeout/supply solely, Fb: @thejerkshacksatx
There’s a spot for haute mac and cheese with neat handmade pasta and bechamel. This ain’t it.
At Mrs. Kitchen, each aspect order is its personal little baked-down casserole of noodles lengthy since melted collectively and rippled with yellow cheese just like the veins of a gold strike, topped with a crown of broiled cheese ($three.25). It’s good by itself, however even higher as a part of a meat-and-three with country-style fried rooster. 2242 E. Commerce St., drive-thru solely, 210-549-4392, mrskitchensa.com
As if it weren’t sufficient that 2M Smokehouse took the highest spot in our 52 Weeks of BBQ collection, it additionally makes a number of the finest mac and cheese you’ll discover at a barbecue joint. Or wherever, for that matter.
Wealthy white cheese sauce saturates twirled ribbons of fusilli pasta, with flakes of black pepper in case you forgot you’re at a barbecue place. And in case you forgot you’re in San Antonio, it’s completed with the crunchy chicharrones that give the mac its identify: Chicharoni Macaroni ($6.25 for a pint). 2731 S. W.W. White Highway, takeout/supply solely, 210-885-9352, 2msmokehouse.com
On ExpressNews.com: In shutting down eating places, coronavirus stole our rituals
At simply $5 for a paper boat of mac and cheese with a pile of chopped brisket, Smoke Shack Mac from the Broadway barbecue restaurant Smoke Shack is likely one of the finest offers round. The brisket’s good to start with, a peppery, steadiness mix of fats and lean in spicy barbecue sauce. However the mac works laborious, too, with curls of cavatappi pasta in vibrant yellow sauce that’s Krafty in all the appropriate methods. 3714 Broadway, takeout/supply solely, 210-957-1430, smokeshacksa.com
Mike Sutter is a food and drinks reporter and restaurant critic within the San Antonio and Bexar County space. To learn extra from Mike, develop into a subscriber. [email protected] | Twitter: @fedmanwalking | Instagram: @fedmanwalking