My own recipe for Mac and Cheese is simple but classic: boil noodles until limp, then stir in the mysterious orange stuff that came in the package.
So imagine my surprise when I learned Mac and Cheese, that universal fall-back hot meal of harried parents everywhere, can be raised to elegant, golden heights.
Kim McDougal, the “Blondie” of Blondie’s Plate, said she and chef Nick Dorcy worked on the recipe for days. In a separate interview, Dorcy said they fought over it.
In either case, the results of the cease-fire are splendid.
Bechamel, noodles, cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and more combine into something wondrous.
Like all of the dishes served up at Blondie’s Plate, which now occupies the former Lipperts’ Restaurant at 134 S. Second Ave., the Mac and Cheese is served a la carte.
McDougal said Blondie’s is a “Northwest small plate” restaurant, which means that most diners will choose three or four items from the menu.
And then they will share the dishes with table mates.
It’s “community food,” as McDougal put it. Tapas with a twist.
The dusted calamari is tender and light, with a spicy sauce accompanying it. The fried chicken is, as McDougal said, “not your mother’s fried chicken.” Which is true, unless your mom was in the habit of throwing it on a thin bed of parmesan cream and arugula citronette.
The menu is as fun as the restaurant’s working notion, with dishes of Red and Golden Beets, Dungeness Crab Cake, Risotto and many more. The “hearty” portion of the menu includes Seared Local Salmon, a reflection of McDougal’s preference for local foods.
Wally Wahlberg is the restaurant’s pastry chef. Each day he creates the breads, desserts and more that are required, including the buns for the sliders. Ask about the day’s dessert choices.
A small bar provides a cozy spot to relax and enjoy top shelf liquors mixed in imaginative ways, with some combined with home-made fresh ingredients.
The restaurant’s decor is muted, and classic, but enlivened with splashes of wild colors. Dachshunds — a favorite of the McDougal clan, Kim and Rick — adorn the walls in various whimsical expressions.
A very long banquette lines one wall, providing a feeling of intimacy and, somehow, community. The tables can be re-arranged to seat parties of two to 40 or more.
A separate nook features a booth for ten for a convivial gathering.
Blondie’s Plate is open for dinner seven days a week. From Sunday through Thursday, it’s open from 4-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 4-10 p.m.
For more information, call 683-2233.
Reach Mark Couhig at email@example.com.