Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Best Meatpacking Mac & Cheese

I had a friend email me “what happened to all the food posts? too much artsy fartsy stuff.” Well, there are over a million places in NYC we'd love to eat and explore but we're trying to have many more of the "save money days" right now so we’ve been doing baguette and cheese every night, as well as taking advantage of free entertainment (BTW, a healthy slice of brie here is about $2.50. The same slice of brie back home at Safeway was over $5). Anyways, to my friend, here's a food post just for ya . . .

We decided we wanted to eat in the Meatpacking district for an early dinner on a non-weekend before the district gets flooded with the Prada-types. The Meatpacking district is filled with rows of restaurants and bars but it is an extremely pricey area that caters to those that can afford to shop at the nearby Alexander McQueen store and then drop $200 on mixed cocktails, and do so with the nonchalant normalcy like the rest of us have only when we buy toilet paper.

So part of the reason we decided upon the Inn was that the menu actually had decent prices considering it was in the heart of Meatpacking (9th Ave at Little W. 12th Street). The Inn LW12 is supposed to be a "British and Canadian inspired experience" situated in four-story historical townhouse dating back to the 1860s.

I've read that the Inn is supposed to be a “Canadian gastropub,” which is a bit perplexing because I thought the idea of a gastropub was supposed to be an anti-restaurant but this was definitely a restaurant. Also, what non-genius dubbed the unappetizing term “gastropub?” It almost sounds like a lower-region surgical procedure. According to the restaurant’s outdated website, the decor is supposed to be a combo of British manor and Canadian inn. But it actually felt more like a Parisian’s take on a pub, if there is such a thing. There was a rustic European feel to the place and the pleasing music they were playing definitely sounded French.

So we're not sure if they're having an identity crisis or what but who cares because whoa, this is the best macaroni & cheese I have ever tasted, and I’ve tasted quite a lot. It seems weird that people can screw up mac & cheese, but there are definitely screwy ones. But holy macaroni! This macaroni was so delicious and had a unique, unexpected twist to it. It had the right amount of cheese, it had a subtle spicy zing to it, and there was almost a hint of what tasted like cinnamon. The waitress said she tried to get the ingredients from the chef, but the chef would not give up her secret goods.

And these fries were done just right too. Not too soft, not too hard, not oily, not too salty, just right. The perfect complement to our mac & cheese.

Our waitress with a British accent was friendly and attentive. I'm sure it helped that we came early (6:00ish) before she had too many tables to tend to. We would definitely go back to the Inn for their twist on mac & cheese. The menu included other comfort food and southern cuisine like southern fried chicken fingers, cajun/jerk/fried/grilled shrimp, fried catfish, smashed potatoes, and fried PB&J sandwich.

But they really need to work on their beer selection. When we went last night, they only had Corona, Heineken, Amstel Light, and Red Stripe. Boooooo!!! We ended up going to a working man’s bar afterward in Chelsea for Guinness and $2 Pabst. We always appreciate cheap beer that is not in the Bud realm.