Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen (Clarkston, MI)

– “The Most Macked Mac & Cheese” –

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! ~

I’m changing things up a little bit by kicking off this review with a “preface” – mostly to regain your trust when I disagree with Guy Fieri’s experience at the Clarkston Union (*gasp*). Clarkston Union’s mac & cheese was featured on the Kid Rock/Detroit region episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The mac that they made for Guy and Kid Rock, lovingly referred to as “the most macked mac and cheese” was fairly different in quality from the one I got. You may think to yourself, “Well, that makes sense, Guy is like, famous,” but a truly good restaurant serves their best food to every guest. Read on to hear the rest.

Presentation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Very average. The baked crust on the top looked appealing, but the random, lone carrot stick on the side seemed like a bizarre afterthought. Later, when I stumbled upon this very episode of Triple D, I saw the dish presented to Guy Fieri with multiple garnishing vegetables; pretty normal, even nice looking. Why should the everyday customer get such a half-assed version?

Flavor: ⭐️⭐️1/2 
To summarize: crust = good, insides = bad. The Panko and sharp cheddar crust was great, but the rest of the dish didn’t follow suit. I would say that the most predominant flavor was oil. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s pretty hard to stomach.

Creaminess: ⭐️
The sauce was the low point for this plate. I noted in the “flavor” category that the mac tasted very oily; this was because the cream sauce had totally separated. So the “sauce” was just clumpy cheese/béchamel with some oil around it. Hmm.

Cheesiness: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Again, the crust was the only saving grace here – the sharp cheddar came to play. As you may have already guessed, the separated sauce essentially drowned out the other elements.
After watching the chef make this mac & cheese on Triple D, I know that several cheeses are involved in this recipe. From just eating it, I would never have been able to guess.

Texture: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
More disconnect between the pasta itself and the crust. The penne rigate was incredibly overcooked, which gave the mac the texture of baby food. Mixed with the ~unsavory~ sauce, it became mush. 
On the other hand, the Panko and sharp cheddar crust on the top of the mac added a nice layer of dimension and crunch. 

Overall Experience
I am very surprised that I did not have 5 star mac at the Clarkston Union. Not only are they known for having amazing mac and cheese, but they were ALSO on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.

Menu Link:

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Episode:

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