The Quest

Summer is not a good time of year to evaluate carby, cheese-landen food.  People seem to want salads and lighter fare when it’s hot out, and that’s the reason that I haven’t managed to write a mac & cheese review in quite a while.  I’m hoping that this delightful dish will crop up on a few other menus this winter, otherwise this may be a very short-lived experiment.

What has happened now, is that I’ve had the macaroni & cheese that everyone has been saying is the best in Providence– and I agree.  Still, I will not stop seeking!  There are still at least two restaurants that I haven’t tried, and there may be more out there that I’m not even aware of.  That said, La Laterie really is the best.

I actually tried the mac & cheese once before actually visitng the restaurant because their smaller, downtown location is where I’ve been going to get my overpriced gourmet sandwiches at lunchtime (I’ve since had to cut back on that).  One day I was in there, and while the friendly man was grilling my Cheesemonger sandwich, I glanced into the cold case and saw that there was the famous Cheesemonger’s macaroni & cheese. I rather foolishly got both, and ate both for lunch– I knew it was wrong– even before the guy who sold them to me said “here’s your cheese and cheese.”

This macaroni & cheese is apparently made with magic, because even when re-heated, it tastes amazing; it’s so delightfully cheesy that it slides off the fork sometimes, and there’s some kind of creamy goodness that makes it decadent and delightful.  I guess Jewish Friend was right about the whole “molten center” thing.  It’s interesting because it’s made with penne pasta rather than macaroni or corkscrew, which I found a bit different at first, but I ended up liking a lot.  The penne tubes get filled with cheesy goodness and it’s easier to get a full-sized bite rather than stabbing a bunch of smaller noodles at once trying to get a mouthful– maybe I’m just greedy.

The restaurant experience was very good as well. My Russian stout was the perfect compliment, Jewish Friend got her macaroni and cheese burned just like she wanted, and the server noticed that our table was wobbly and fixed it without our even needing to ask.  The only complaints I have are that it took a long time to get our bill, and the lighting was so low that we both got a bit sleepy.

My god that mac & cheese was good, there really are no words.

Decor/atmosphere: 9.5 Cute, cozy, classy. We were given our choice of seating bar/high top/window.  We took the high top, which felt private even though it really wasn’t. The only drawback was the fact that it did get very noisy at times.

Service: 9.5 Our waiter was attentive without being annoying, he fixed the table, and he seemed genuinely concerned about whether or not I was happy with my beer. The food came out in a timely manner, and the food runner knew who got what without our having to tell him.  It doesn’t get a perfect 10 because it took a while for the bill, though I hadn’t finished my beer yet, so the server may have been waiting.

Food: 10 The biscuits we had before the mac & cheese were excellent, the mac & cheese was amazing in a way I can’t have previously imagined.  I can’t quit thinking about it.

Total: 29

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