Best Mac-n-Cheese - 2004
"It's the best macaroni and cheese you'll ever have," our server told us, and in his eye was the gleam of the fanatic. Eat out enough, and you'll hear that kind of thing a thousand times -- that blank is the best blank you'll ever have -- and it always comes from servers who are adamant in their convictions and usually wrong. But at Le Chantecler, our waiter was absolutely right. The kitchen's lumache pasta with hard Spanish mahón cow's-milk cheese is not just the best mac-n-cheese around, but better by leaps and bounds than its closest competitor. It's cheesy, gooey, warm and satisfying, perfectly colored, perfectly cooked. And Le Chantecler gets bonus points, because this mac-n-cheese isn't even a main course, but comes cuddled on the side of an excellent spread of roasted pork medallions in a ham-hock jus.