I have a confession to make: there are so many amazing mac and cheese options here in Seattle and in the Pacific Northwest in general that I have a huge bucket list of places I need to visit and fill my pie-hole. Henry’s Tavern, and their singular mac and cheese burger, have been on that list for a very, very long time. Since life (and wanting to stay roughly the same size as to continue to be able to fit into my clothes…) has a way of getting away from you at times, I haven’t made much progress on the Seattle mac and cheese bucket list. But here and there, I do have an occasion to cross one off my list.
Enter Henry’s Tavern. I was approached by the fine folks there who offered a gift card so that I could try their mac and cheese burger and write up a review of my thoughts. After clarifying that I am scrupulous about being honest in any reviews written, we were all on the same page. And looking back, of course they were in. They’d already tasted the delicious goodness that is their mac and cheeseburger! Done deal.
On a quiet weekend, we headed in to give Henry’s Tavern a try. We chose a quiet weekend because as you may or may not know, Henry’s Tavern is right near both Safeco and CenturyLink Fields. So, they are hugely popular with the sporting crowd because they have a huge back area equipped with the perfect accoutrements for watching the game: places to sit and gather around tons of big-screen TVs, food, 100 beers on tap, and the like. And that doesn’t even count their big outdoor area!
Once I had a good look at the menu, I realized that I not only needed to try the mac and cheese burger but to get a better idea of the foundation of said burger (the mac and cheese…), I needed to order their mac and cheese straight up as well. Realizing that mac and cheese, both in pure form and on a luscious burger, isn’t the lightest of foods, we went in hungry. Good thing we did!
When this beautiful monster was set down gently in front of us, I think we both may have swooned a little. Then came the mac and cheese itself, and we realized that we were WAY out of our league. This was going to make two meals, easy.
The details: The mac & cheese burger comes with mac & cheese, cheddar ale sauce, Applewood-smoked bacon, garlic mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion and dill pickles. I ordered it medium well and picked off the onions once the burger arrived (why? Because I don’t, in general, like onions, especially when raw. I think they’re flavor spotlight hogs, like peppers, but that’s a conversation for another time).
I like things saucy, and this burger did not disappoint. The cheddar ale sauce took it beyond good. The mayo, a dab of ketchup, and of course the mac and cheese took it over the edge into amazingly-good territory. And it was one of the juiciest burgers I’ve had in a while, even cooked medium-well. The kitchen staff definitely knows what they’re doing back there! I had planned to save some for breakfast the next day and well, that just didn’t happen. They’re lucky I left the plate behind.
And the mac and cheese itself? Luscious, large shells liberally doused in a creamy, cheesy sauce (cheddar and Parmesan) that had just a hint of garlic. Not enough to ward off vampires nor even annoy a first date, but enough to give it just that little extra oomph of flavor that takes a good mac and cheese and makes it great. Did I mention creamy? Definitely nice and saucy. And even better? It reheated beautifully the next morning for the most decadent breakfast ever. Hey, don’t judge ’til you’ve been there.
I will be coming back to Henry’s Tavern for their mac and cheese burger, and their mac and cheese (and their wedge salad, but that’s for another day).
Honestly, the hearty goodness of the cheeseburger overshadowed the standout flavor of the mac and cheese itself; while substantial, you just couldn’t discern the mac and cheese from the rest of the burger bite-to-bite. The burger was stellar, but it would have been so if the mac and cheese had been left off. And the mac and cheese itself is such a star, it would be a shame to judge it just by its presence on the cheeseburger.
So you, my friend, are left with the same dilemma I had when I first saw the Henry’s menu: mac & cheese burger, mac and cheese, or both? In this case, always choose both as each in itself is a thing of foodie beauty to be savored.