Grate of­fers gourmet mac and cheese

Wisconsin Gazette - - Opinion - By Michael Muck­ian Con­tribut­ing writer

Carb lovers re­joice! The new Grate Mac & Cheese of­fers turns both classic and cre­ative on Wis­con­sin’s fa­vorite com­fort food.

The new restau­rant, opened Aug. 29 in Menomonee Falls by the Roar­ing Fork Restau­rant Group, has in­tro­duced what it says is a first-of-its-kind eatery to south­east­ern Wis­con­sin. The 2,500-square-foot restau­rant will com­bine the best Wis­con­sin cheeses and other in­gre­di­ents to de­velop cre­ative ver­sions of its name­sake dish, ac­cord­ing to Roar­ing Fork mar­ket­ing direc­tor Abby Hansen.

“We trav­eled coast to coast to visit and eat at some of the best mac-and-cheese restau­rants in the coun­try,” says Hansen, who de­vel­oped the menu.

“Over the course of three months I ex­plored ev­ery facet of the process, from the pasta to the blend and the ra­tio of cheese to the base sauce and how we could recre­ate the process in front of guests and serve the per­fect mac and cheese ev­ery time,” she adds.

The re­sult: Al­most a dozen takes on the classic dish, each with its own unique character, but built on the same foun­da­tion.

Each mac and cheese en­trée starts with a from-scratch béchamel sauce, a blend of cheeses de­pend­ing on the spe­cific dish, pasta and a crispy crumb top­ping.

“De­pend­ing on the en­trée, each dish is then topped with its ac­com­pa­ny­ing pro­teins and gar­nishes af­ter they come out of the oven pip­ing hot and with just the right amount of creami­ness and cheese pull,” Hansen says.

Taste-testers have tagged fa­vorites

The Buf­falo —a blend of moz­zarella, bleu and ched­dar cheeses mixed with chicken, green onions, car­rots and a Buf­falo sauce — was fa­vored by the spice lovers in the crowd.

The BBQ — a mix of moz­zarella and ched­dar with pulled pork and ba­con topped with onion tas­sels and a smoky bar­be­cue sauce — has a fol­low­ing.

The Ba­con Cheese­burger has tremen­dous “plate ap­peal,” its cre­ator says, with

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