Here’s the Dish: The Smith’s Macaroni and Cheese

Photograph by Ian Alterman.

By Ian Alterman

I have tried macaroni and cheese in dozens of diners and restaurants. The best I have ever had is at The Smith at Lincoln Square. The Smith uses small elbow macaroni and four different kinds of cheese — mozzarella, cheddar, fontina, and parmesan (making it a “quattro formaggi”) — then adds a little lemon and heavy cream, and bakes this magnificent comfort-food extravaganza in an iron skillet (which comes out piping hot), complete with a layer of crusty cheese on top. Indeed, this crust is as important to great macaroni and cheese as the crusty cheese on the side of the crock is to great onion soup. For me, it is, quite literally, “the way mother used to make it.”

Paired with their tomato and watermelon gazpacho (another treat) or one of their salads, this is a macaroni and cheese that can serve as a main dish. In fact, I have never made it through an entire skillet (it is very rich), and end up bringing some home in a container. It reheats very nicely in a microwave or toaster oven.

The Smith
1900 Broadway (63rd)
Hours: Mon–Fri 11:30 am–10:00 pm, Sat, Sun 9:30 am–10:00 pm
Featured dish: Macaroni and cheese ($17)

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Read the first Here’s the Dish column here.

COLUMNS, FOOD | 12 comments | permalink
    1. Valarie says:

      Interesting review. Not a word about the quality of the service. My recent experience was to wait for forty five minutes for our order to arrive. And when it did, it was cold. And what about the noise level, in the stratosphere.

      • Wayne Z. says:

        This UWS location of The Smith along with Casa Mono in Union Square are two of noisiest restaurants around. Nigh impossible to have a conversation without yelling and/or repeating yourself.

        • Richard says:

          Hmm, service may not be stellar, but that’s quite a review! I love me a good mac & cheese, and will most definitely visit The Smith soon. For me, the most important thing – by far – is the food. Not the service.

      • Ian Alterman says:

        I have never personally had a problem with the service. I would agree, however, with Wayne that it is among the loudest restaurants anywhere. That is largely because the entire place is tile, and sound reverberates. As long as you sit outside, it should be fine.

    2. rteplow says:

      Ian, you’ve described my perfect bowl of mac and cheese! And the cold gazpacho sounds like a much better accompaniment than tomato soup.

    3. Carlos says:

      I have a very refined palate when it comes to sushi, steak, and some other foods. But for some reason I will always vote for Kraft from a box as the best mac and cheese around – the best comfort food!

    4. Sam Katz says:


    5. UWS Foodie says:

      I’ve had the M&C at The Smith, it is very good. However, the BEST M&C I’ve ever had is at Jacob’s Pickles on Amsterdam between 84th and 85tth Streets. In fact, everything on their menu is very good.

    6. James Lanser says:

      Fred’s has the best mac and cheese I have ever had.

    7. 71 says:

      their foundue chips are the best!!!

    8. Susan says:

      Wow…the macaroni and cheese sounds delicious!!!! There’s always a sizable outside crowd at The Smith and this may be one of the reasons why!