Cheesy pasta reigns at the comfort table
There are times when nothing but a creamy bowl of macaroni and cheese will do. Here's where the getting is good.
In Good Taste
We've never tasted a better Ñ or more uncommon Ñ mac and cheese ($8) than the rarefied version served in the bistro arm of the cooking school and specialty food shop In Good Taste. The dish is stark white, owing to a white cheddar cream sauce, and, while the ziti is thoroughly coated with the stuff, it's never gloppy or deathly cheesy. Mixed in are crackly morsels of bacon and fresh baby spinach. Dig in at one of the cafe's tiny two-tops, where bright ceramic rooster pitchers are already filled with ice water when you take a seat.
231 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-248-2015
Mother's Bistro & Bar
Mother's trademark is re-imagined, improved variations of the recipes that you grew up with. Macaroni and cheese is an honored dish here, and Mother's makes it good and old-fashioned, the thick and velvety kind that will put you in a food coma. Each day brings a different variety, perhaps studded with pancetta on one visit, porcini mushrooms the next, at varying prices. Meals begin with amazing biscuits served with butter and honey.
409 S.W. Second Ave., 503-464-1122
Le Bistro Montage
Montage's hearty mac and cheese has been keeping cheapskates from going hungry for years. An entire section of Montage's menu is devoted to macaronis, ranging from the $5 Old Mac (garlic, Parmesan and heavy cream) to spicy mac with Cajun gravy and chicken ($8). There's also a pair of pesto macs and a whopping one with ham and smoked cheddar, not to mention a lengthy menu that runs the gamut from jambalaya to mud pie. You can't live in Portland and not go to Montage at least once, if only to walk away with your leftovers wrapped in an elaborate aluminum foil swan or bunny.
301 S.E. Morrison St., 503-234-1324