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Temple has the vibe of a place that men take women they want to have affairs with.

Prior to beginning the Mac & Cheese quest, I had only ever visited the bar at Temple, but I’ve always felt like that description completely sums it up. The bar area is dimly lit with dark wood, and some kind of red room at the end that looks like a rapist paradise (I’ve never ventured into that space though, so it may be lovely). I went there for cocktails with Culture Friend after a night at the ballet, and got a comment from a middle-aged golf buddy about the murkiness of my martini.

“It’s a filthy martini,” I told him.

He said something along the lines of “you bad girl.”

On one of our cocktail outings Jewish Friend and I had seen on the menu that they serve truffle macaroni and cheese for a very reasonable price. We decided to try it one Sunday evening when all of the restaurants we really wanted to go to were inexplicably closed.

When we arrived, there was one other table occupied, and the hostess asked us if we wanted a table or a booth. I immediately replied “booth” and we were taken to a booth so vast that I could have comfortably lived there. Since the booth was so large, and there were only two of us, placement of our bodies and silverware became more cerebral than it should have been.

“It looks like a harem in here.” Jewish Friend said.

And it did.

I’ve never been in a harem, but aside from a lack of heaps of pillows and belly dancers– this place had a total harem vibe, and I think there are actually heaps of pillows in the red rapist room– can’t be sure. Our giant booth was covered in some kind of orange velour and it had a curtain tied back that just seemed to say to me “you can pull me shut and have sex right here.”

We did not do that, and when I asked Jewish Friend to pull it closed just to see if we had the slightly sleazy option of total privacy– she said “no, I will not be doing that.”

The truffle macaroni & cheese is listed on the appetizer menu, so it only costs $12. It’s served in a little hot-pot with a nice crust of cheese on the top and a giant spoon to heap it onto your appetizer plate. I’ve never had truffles before, or truffle oil– so I can’t speak to that aspect of the mac & cheese (which is clearly its selling point), but I can say that it was delightful. It was cheesy without being overly cheesy, messy but not in a way that leaves you with oil and flecks of dairy all over your chin, and filling without being heavy.

Perfect wintertime comfort food.

Decor/atmosphere: 5. Harem vibe, sex booth.

Service: 7. Seating and food delivery was very prompt, but we had to wait extraordinarily long for our bill.

Food: 8. Mac & cheese was excellent, fries were merely ok.

Total: 20

A while ago, Jewish Friend and I were at a diner and I noticed macaroni & cheese on the menu. Since we were having breakfast, I didn’t order that, but I remarked how much I love macaroni & cheese and wondered out loud where the best macaroni & cheese in Providence is.

“La Laterie,” Jewish friend informed me, “they have the best, someone sampled all of them a while back and said La Laterie is the best.”

“Don’t you think it would be fun to try them all and compare them?” I asked.

“La Laterie is the best.”

In spite of having been raised kosher (or maybe because of it), Jewish Friend likes to eat as much bacon as she can– clearly sampling all the mac & cheese Providence has to offer is not as exciting for her as it is for me. Nevertheless, she loves to eat out as long as she can sample the mac & cheese that I order, and get her meat fix.

The plan is to write a mini-review of the restaurant as a whole paying particular attention mac & cheese. I’ll note decor/atmosphere, service, and food and assign each a rating between 1 and 10, 10 being the best. After I’ve sampled all of the mac & cheese I can find, I’ll list them in order of best to worst as I see it.