- Queens Kickshaw
40-17 Broadway, nr. 41st St., Astoria; 718-777-0913
First things first: We know we shall never find another love quite like the love we have for Blue Smoke’s mac ’n’ cheese. It’s our gold (Velveeta-orange?) standard of mac ’n’ cheese excellence. But Queens Kickshaw’s comes close. Yes, it’s pure, unbridled fancy-pants, a combination of Cheddar, Gruyère, and smoked mozzarella with a squiggle of creamy tomato sauce and—what’s this?—green beans? What the dickens are green beans doing in my mac ’n’ cheese? Still, a more judiciously calibrated ratio of cheese to elbow macaroni would be hard to find. And there’s some clever business with the technique: The relentlessly gooey thing is cooked in a loaf pan, refrigerated, sliced into thick slabs, then griddled and baked again to form a nice crust without the cheat of bread crumbs. It’s so good you’re willing to overlook the legume transgression.