A quiet new entry along one of the borough’s most rapidly changing boulevards, The Mac Shack opened on Clinton Hill’s Fulton Avenue last Saturday. To say they only serve one thing is not quite doing them justice. The Mac Shack only serves mac and cheese, but man, do they serve mac and cheese.
It comes in 13 varieties, from the simple BK Classic Mac (monterey jack and cheddar), to fancy fare like BK Bridge Mac (roasted mushrooms, fontina, marscapone and truffle oil) and over-the-top insanity like Brooklyn Claw (lobster meat, cognac, tarragon and marscapone). While all those avant garde ingredients implied that The Mac Shack might be a bit too preciously nouveau Brooklyn, it’s actual a simple, relaxed counter joint with an extremely friendly staff and—most refreshing of all for a new spot these days—affordable prices. Each type of mac can be had in small orders, which are enough for a dinner for one, and are priced between $6 and $9. Large portions cost roughly twice as much.
Clearly, I had to try out the foodie-iest variety of them all, so I went with the Mac Duffy, which includes duck confit, fontina and caramelized onions. The mac and cheese base itself is pretty damn near perfect, in my opinion. I’d say the amount of cheese used is medium-heavy—enough that each elbow is coated in ample cheesiness, but not so much that it starts to turn into a soupy, mac casserole of cheese sauce. The confit version comes with ample slivers of savory duck, which plays nicely with the fontina and onions, creating a slightly sweet, slightly sharp dish. I also tried a second version (for research purposes, clearly!) but I was less bowled over by the PhatLipp Mac, a version stocked with shreds of braised beef that were far less tender or tasty than the duck.
Overall, Mac Shack is definitely a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Only complaint: they close at 11 on weeknights and 12 on the weekend. Come on now, when do we really, really want 13 varieties of mac and cheese? When the bars close!