The addition of comfort food like your mom used to make arriving on restaurant menus brings a childhood favorite with upscale touches to your meal. And the choices in Las Vegas run the gamut from simple to complex. Instead of trying to sift through the menus, we turned to the experts, some of the top food writers in Las Vegas, to share their favorites. Here’s a look at some of the best mac and cheese dishes in Las Vegas. Don’t say we didn’t forewarn you; these picks are tasty.
1 Society Cafe
Max Jacobson, the food critic for Vegas Seven, has been writing about his dining adventures for 30 years. Just recently, he released “Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants” with fellow food writers John Curtas and Al Mancini. For Jacobson, the mac ‘n cheese “bites” with truffle dipping sauce at Society Cafe at Encore Las Vegas tops his list. Executive Chef Kim Canteenwalla has taken old favorites and transformed them into a decadent dining experience at this spot.
Encore Las Vegas
2 Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro, Mon Ami Gabi, SW Steakhouse, Botero
Restaurant critic John Curtas’ bio is way too long to include here. We’ll just say that you can find him on NPR, writing for Las Vegas Weekly and on KLAS-TV when he’s not posting on his blog Eating Las Vegas. And from his picks, you sure can tell he’s tried a lot of mac and cheese dishes in Las Vegas. He limited his choices to four: the Boursin macaroni and cheese at Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro at Caesars Palace; the macaroni gratin made with bleu cheese mornay and then topped with parmesan, Gruyere and Jarlsberg cheeses on the lunch menu at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas; the Maine lobster mac and cheese at SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas; and the truffle macaroni and cheese at Botero at Encore Las Vegas. Rich, rich, rich, but worth the indulgences.
3 First Food & Bar
Jim Begley is the food writer for David Magazine and occasionally the Las Vegas Weekly as well as his own blog, SplurgeMonkey. His choice? The Doritos-crusted mac and cheese at First Food & Bar at the Palazzo. “For the ultimate in Las Vegas mac and cheese goodness, you need look no further than the mad machinations of Chef Sammy D at First Food & Bar at the Palazzo,” Begley says. “Excess is a virtue at First where the mac and cheese consists of a mixture of four cheeses — American, pepper jack, cheddar and cream cheese — with the pepper jack providing the dish a little bite of heat. As if that weren’t enough, the mixture is coated with a healthy layer of crumbled Doritos that contributes a nice textural contrast to the supple pasta. Enjoy!”
First Food & Bar
Mike Dobranski keeps Vegas updated on the world of food through his blog and podcast Tasting Las Vegas. When it comes to mac and cheese, he heads to Firefly for the Manchego mac and cheese. “It's creamy, lush and the flavor of Manchego is perfect for a mac and cheese,” Dobranski says. “[It] Goes great with red sangria, but then again, what doesn't? Good stuff.”
3900 Paradise Rd.
1 S. Main St.,
9560 W. Sahara Ave.
5 The Mac Shack
When visitors make their plans to travel to Vegas, one of their first stops is probably, Vegas.com, where Nikki Neu covers the dining scene. And she went all out when it came to finding the best mac and cheese in Las Vegas. “The Mac Shack is an entire restaurant devoted to mac & cheese. Let me say that again. It’s an ENTIRE restaurant devoted to mac & cheese,” she says. “Every kind of mac & cheese you could possibly imagine. You can create your own, but my favorite happens to be pre-designed. The Asiago blue mac is a creamy mixture of Pecorino Romano, Asiago and blue cheese, topped with more crumbled blue cheese and bread crumbs. I usually add porcini mushrooms to mine. Everything about this mac & cheese works: the flavor (though please note you do have to like blue cheese), the smooth creamy texture and the light crunch of the toasted bread crumbs. They also make a killer traditional cheddar mac. Possibly the best part about this restaurant is that it’s quick service and casual, but still offers beer and wine. Alcohol and comfort food? Yes, please.”
The Mac Shack
8680 W. Warm Springs Rd.