John Harvard’s Brew House
Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA

Gourmet Mac & Cheese – Carbonara
Cavatappi pasta topped with panko bread crumbs, rendered bacon, fresh green peas and cheddar cheese

 

John Harvard’s gourmet mac & cheese comes in three specialty flavours: South of the Border (Gouda and chorizo); Buffalo (roast chicken, bleu cheese, and Buffalo sauce); and Carbonara (bacon and peas).

Really, really, really good. Also really, really, really hot when it comes to the table, so don’t touch the plate and give it a few minutes to cool before you dig in. The cheese gets inside the cavatappi and each pasta becomes a cheesy, hot vessel. Three cheers of the bread crumbs, and that’s not something I praise often — panko bread crumbs here are big and laid on thick and browned to an excellent crisp — a cheesy cavatappi rolled in panko is joy at the end of a fork. The bacon was cut in large pieces and cooked so well that it retained its chewy, bacony nature, nothing like tiny bacon bits burnt to a crisp that passes for bacon in some establishments. The peas could have been more tender or more plentiful, but I am a bit of a sucker for a tender, sweet pea.

The worst I can say is that the leftover pasta did not refrigerate or reheat very well. It tasted a little mayonnaise-y when I tried so I ate it cold instead.

My girlfriend’s South of the Border mac & cheese looked great and the bite I had was just as tasty as my own dish, so I think next time I’m at Harvard’s for more than just a couple brews, I’ll be going with that dish.

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