Not many dishes bring comfort to the soul like good ol’ mac-n-cheese. Noodles covered in a bubbling hot medley of creamy, melted cheeses is a go-to comfort food for almost everyone, no matter how young or old. Restaurants are getting creative and coming up with tasty, unique combinations of this classic dish. The laid-back folks in Houston’s Bay Area have been spending a lot of time at a new locally owned restaurant specializing in gourmet macaroni and cheese and the Houston Press popped in to take a First Look at The Backyard, the newest spot in Seabrook.
Down on 4th street a few blocks from the main drag in Seabrook is a grayish-blue one-story wooden building with a small gravel parking lot. There is minimal parking right up front and a larger area to park on the side of the building. The Backyard is in the same building Thai restaurant Merlion was in before they moved over to the main street, for those familiar with the area. The Backyard is a full-service restaurant with a cozy bar right through the front doors. A nice variety of beer and wine is available, but no liquor. The restaurant is simple: Cream colored walls, wooden tables and chairs and an intimate patio out back. Pretty white lights line the upper wooden slates on the pergola that runs the length of the building. Several heat lamps, picnic tables and giant classic games scatter the gravel and brick paved area. The patio is kid-friendly, pet-friendly and smoking is allowed outside only.
The menu is a good size and not overwhelming. Small Plates, Soups and Salads, The Macyard, Add-Ons, and a Kids section about sums it up. Macaroni is the specialty here but there are other items are available. A couple of flavors of wings are served; the hot honey garlic wings and the tamarind habanero wings and according to the server, a local small-bite favorite, the avocado bites. These addicting bites are round like meatballs, except covered in crispy Panko filled with a mouthful of creamy avocado and served with cilantro-lime ranch. Saigon steak tacos and Korean pork cracklins are a couple of other small-bite options.
Or choose to start off with a soup or salad. The rich arbol corn chowder packs a mild chipotle heat and is topped with crispy tortilla strips, chopped cilantro and cotija and cheddar cheese. The Tom Kha Gai is also a surprise to see on a mac-n-cheese joint menu but it’s a great addition with a simple, refreshing flavor.
Now for the real deal, the macaroni entrees. Wide ceramics loaded with mounds of bubbling macaroni and cheese come in several different combinations and even a create-your-own option. If creativity is left to the big dogs, there are a variety of flavor combos to choose from. All tastes are covered, from a basic OG Mac, a Mexican Elote Mac, Viet Mac with basil and marinated flank steak or a Jalapeno Mac with cream cheese, bacon and grilled jalapenos. Or check out the popular NOLA mac with white cheddar, blackened shrimp, andouille sausage and bell peppers. Perfect choice for the season.
For the gluten-free or vegan requests, The Backyard has a vegan mac with grilled broccolini, roasted garlic and a creamy cheese-like sauce with gluten-free noodles, on request. The kids have a choice of macaroni or basil chicken bites. The option of add-ons makes creating a personalized bowl of mac n cheese fun. Top a heaping bowl of comfort food with truffles, gulf shrimp or even a fried egg. Homemade cookies and brownies are also available.
Seabrook, Texas 77586
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