~ Crawfish Mac & Cheese ~
I spy with both of my eyes…something unique. Have you ever had a mac & cheese with baked cheese crisps sprinkled on top? Cool if you have, but I certainly have not. Without a doubt one of the funkier presentations I have come across, definitely keeping in theme with the restaurant and hotel themselves.
This one was pretty mild. There was a great flavor from the cheese, but the other components were a little unusual. The seasoning in this dish was a little on the sweet side – this would have been a lot nicer if balanced with a kick of spice, but it wasn’t.
I also want to mention the baked cheese crisps; I loved them as a concept, but they ended up being a bit iffy in flavor. There was too much bitterness coming through, and as I learned on Chopped the other night (thanks, Chef Alex), if smoked cheeses are used for a crisp, they can burn without looking so, contributing to a less than favorable taste.
The lack of creaminess in this dish was definitely one of my biggest complaints. It was pretty dry, lacking a cream sauce. How much enjoyment can you really get from a mac & cheese if it doesn’t even have a velvety cream sauce to stir in??
The smoked gouda and American cheese definitely came through in flavor, and I thought they were a pretty great team. It’s hard to say a mac is truly cheesy, though, if it doesn’t have a gooey cheese sauce to accompany it.
Definitely one of the strongest areas of this dish; the pasta was cooked well (though not perfectly al dente), the crawfish added an excellent snap to the dish, and the baked cheese crisp created a wonderfully unique crunch. What’s missing? A cream sauce.
Formerly the Madison Hotel, the Hu. Hotel was pretty recently renovated and rebranded, and it is one swanky place, let me tell you. I am a GIGANTIC fan of art deco, and the hotel, diner, and rooftop bar all adhere to that theme. Gorgeous. It was a pretty good dinner overall, but has some room for improvement as it grows.