Elbows Mac — comfort food in a jiffy

I didn’t want to go to Elbows Mac with my friends when it first opened. As usual, I wanted to wait until they get over any opening hiccups before trying them out. Now that they’ve been opened a few months, when my friend Austin asked me to accompany him, I wholeheartedly accepted.

I was really curious how the owners came about opening Elbows Mac so I asked. I was told they had eaten at a similar place while on a trip to New York City a couple of years ago. They accosted the owner of said restaurant regarding opening up a franchise in California but he wasn’t interested. That didn’t dampen their spirits though, they found someone to work together with them in creating recipes, and voila, Elbows Mac was born.

The restaurant is small, located in a strip mall in Cerritos and isn’t exactly a sit-down restaurant. You order from the counter and get a number and food is brought out to you when it is ready. You would think that it would be a simple task ordering mac n cheese, but there were many choices making it hard for me to decide.

Austin informed me about a tweet that morning stating their Monday special: a regular sized mac n cheese, a 22oz drink and soup or salad for $8.95. What a bargain! We even started by ordering a couple of appetizers to share.

Green bean fries ($3.95) are breaded and fried a crispy golden brown. Two sauces, Elbows signature cheese sauce and a ranch dressing came with it. I liked both. The cheese sauce was rich and not overly salty, while the ranch’s slightly tart flavor gave it a nice contrast.

Breaded Lasagna Squares ($4.95) sandwiched a blend of cheeses, fresh herbs and sauce between lasagna pasta, coated with bread crumbs and fried a golden brown. I really enjoyed the piquant marinara dipping sauce it came with.

Soup of the day was corn chowder and I was surprised at how tasty it was. Thick chowder texture with chunks of potato and corn kernels make this a hearty choice on a cold day. I really shouldn’t have finished the entire bowl because I was pretty much full by the time the mac n cheeses started arriving.

Masala ($6.75/$9.95) didn’t taste neither here nor there for me. I didn’t detect masala per se, and since the menu stated that it was a blend of exotic Indian spices, it could’ve been anything really. Or perhaps the pepper jack and sharp cheddar overpowered the masala mix? Either way, this needed a spice kick for me.

Classic mac n cheese ($5.95/$8.95) in a four cheese sauce was average. I expected a cheesier taste, but it was almost bland needing a little more seasoning. The creamy texture was perfect! I would’ve added a touch of sea salt perhaps to lift its flatness.

Truffle mac n cheese ($6.95/$9.95) though tasty didn’t really have much of a truffle flavor at all. I like the blend of mushrooms mixed in, but it definitely required more truffle oil for it to resemble a truffle mac n cheese without actual truffle shavings.

The best of the lot was Swiss style mac n cheese ($6.95/$9.95). Its description of creamy Alpine cheeses with crispy applewood smoked bacon was spot on. Creamy, salty, gooey goodness, exactly what an awesome mac n cheese is all about. This was hands-down the winner!

Although our meal was a hit and miss, it’s still a great concept of offering comfort food that is loved by all. I wish they were closer. Maybe they will consider opening a location down my way soon? Now that’s a thought!

Elbows Mac
11405 South Street, Ste C-6
Cerritos, CA 90703

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