Macaroni and cheese has gone from a side dish to a headliner -- and with bigger portions come bolder ingredients. It's your move, Kraft, because chefs in Kansas City are changing the definition of the comfort food.
A great bowl of macaroni and cheese is an antidote to winter and depression and the latest pledge to eat right. It is also almost universally liked, meaning that you'll find a version of it on plenty of menus in the city -- even if you have to track it down on the kid's menu.
Charles Ferruzza and I have picked up fork and spoon in an effort to determine the Top 5 mac and cheese dishes in Kansas City. The results are after the jump.
5. Zest -- Truffle Gouda Mac 'n' Cheese. At the Leawood spot where chef Linda Duerr was recently named a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation award, the penne with smoked gouda, peas and country ham is decadent. And then it's finished with white truffle oil.
4. Yard House -- Mac + Cheese 2. An enormous creamy bowl of campanelle pasta, cheddar and parmesan with mushrooms, chicken and applewood smoked bacon. You'll eat too much and the next day still be glad to see the leftovers from this restaurant in the Legends.
3. Peachtree Buffet -- There's nothing fancy about this one, but it's the real deal: macaroni in a thick, creamy cheese sauce. And because this is an all-you-can-eat buffet, you can eat it with savory collard greens, fried chicken and lots of cornbread.
2. McCoy's Public House -- Newscaster Walt Bodine's favorite mac-and-cheese in the city and one of the best things on this saloon's menu: shell pasta in a thick four-cheese sauce. It'll fill you up on a cold night.
1. Jack Gage American Tavern -- Chef Richard McPeake pulls out the stops on this main dish. It's macaroni with crabmeat in a sauce made of nine cheeses: smoked gouda, white cheddar, yellow cheddar, Asiago, Provolone, Fontina, Romano, mozzarella and Swiss. It's sex on a spoon!
[Image via Flickr: Pink Sherbert]