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Mac and More

This spot started out serving its namesake dish and nothing else. Expanding the menu was a good idea.

Right now, the panini selection is far more limited than the mac 'n' cheese selection — six panini to choose from versus a staggering 18 different skillets (not counting the fact that you can get them in a personal, one-cup size or a two-person "regular" size) — but I prefer it that way. In fact, I wish that Jus' Mac would trim down their mac 'n' cheese offerings to a more manageable ten or even a smooth dozen.

Because although the restaurant has made some huge leaps in the 16 months it's been open, that still doesn't mean that all of the macaroni and cheese dishes are good.
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The flavors in the Buffalo Chicken mac 'n' cheese are almost intrinsically great: There's very little in this world that couldn't be enhanced by the judicious application of blue cheese and/or Frank's RedHot sauce. Yet there was a lot to be desired in the dish of Buffalo Chicken mac 'n' cheese that was sitting in front of me during a recent weekday evening at Jus' Mac.

The chili cheese mac is a thing of beauty, and the wedge salad is a meal in itself.
Troy Fields
The chili cheese mac is a thing of beauty, and the wedge salad is a meal in itself.

Location Info

Map

Jus' Mac

2617 Yale
Houston, TX 77008

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Heights

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
House salad: $5.95
Wedge salad: $5.95
Puebla: $6.35
Chili Cheese: $6.35
Buffalo Chicken: $7.50
Polpetta: $8.95


READ MORE:
SLIDESHOW: More Than Mac 'n' Cheese at Jus' Mac
BLOG POST: The Rise of Single-Dish Restaurants in America


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The Buffalo Chicken is an example of how the prefabbed macaroni and cheese model can go awry here. The big hunks of chicken that came with the dish were rough, tough and dry. Even though they'd been mostly immersed in cheese sauce for a few minutes, there was nothing the pasta could do in that short period of time to save the dried-out chicken. If it had been cooked in with the macaroni and cheese from the very beginning, casserole-style, the entire skillet could have been a home run in the same way the Chili Cheese dish is.

My friend's skillet across the way was similarly disappointing. But instead of dried-out meat, she was dealing with runny tomatoes in her Rustic mac 'n' cheese. The fresh roasted tomatoes sounded good in concept, but in reality their juices ran rampant throughout the dish. The result was a skillet full of soggy pasta that had been waterlogged (or tomato juice-logged) before she could even finish her salad.

The waterlogging, however, didn't compare to the final straw, when I pulled a brown hair from my dish toward the end. I tried to give the stray hair the benefit of the doubt, but quickly realized it was neither mine (long and blond) nor my friend's (short and black). Worse, it had been baked in. At least I didn't accidentally eat it, though.

I know that hair in and of itself is not dirty, and has little to no chance of transmitting any kind of germs or disease. I know that rationally. The more easily grossed-out side of me, however, doesn't think of the hair as a singularity but rather as a symptom of larger issues at hand. If a hair can get baked into the pasta, that means the cooks aren't wearing hairnets. Which could mean they're not attending to a host of other sanitary issues, either.

A chef friend of mine reminded me later that evening, however, that "humans are making the food back there" and that humans sometimes make mistakes. He was more forgiving of the hair than I, emphasizing that one stray hair does not a health disaster make. And he's right.

Still, I think that if Jus' Mac were to trim the menu a bit, it would make for an easier time all the way around: By eliminating dishes that just don't work or aren't as popular, the cooks could pay closer attention to the dishes they are making and the food would continue to improve at the restaurant overall, as it's already done.

I hope Jus' Mac continues to evolve, and believe it will. After all, its mindfulness in paying attention to its customers and critics means that the restaurant has been successful enough to net a second location. Jus' Mac opened on Lexington Boulevard in Sugar Land in December, and I hear it's already a huge hit.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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5 comments
Estelle711
Estelle711

I basically make about $500-$1,000 a month online. It's enough to comfortably replace my old jobs income, especially considering I only work about 10-13 hours a week from home ,read more on this web site... makecash16.comONLY

GreeneG
GreeneG

I ate here two weeks ago and enjoyed it very much. @Corey....boring is getting Mac and cheese with a naturally bland vegetable. They have over 15 versions and you got the most boring version. You know how oil tastes when a month old???

I will be going back"

Corey
Corey

Pregnant wife, nuff said right?

Corey
Corey

In a word: boring.. We went last weekend, waded through the hipsters for a take out order, macaroni and cheese with broccoli was bland tasteless, fried macaroni balls even worse, greasy, oil tasted a month plus old. Seriously you're better off at home with a skirt steak a can of rotel and a velveeta package.

John
John

God can't even eat in the Heights without all those annoying hipsters!

 
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