13th Street Pub and Grill 

I have always had a fondness for homemade macaroni and cheese, so it was no surprise the first menu item at 13th Street Pub and Grill that grabbed my attention was the baked mac appetizer ($4.95). I agreed to share the starter with my husband, who was more intrigued by the selection of beer, which rivals any in Boise. Aficionados of barley and hops will understand the significance of 16 different taps, including two cask-conditioned brews. But our drinks were quickly forgotten when the over-sized ramekin of creamy four-cheese macaroni arrived. It was so warm and comforting that I wanted to crawl into the dish and cuddle up with the salty chunks of pancetta that punctuated every other bite. The helping could have easily been an entire meal--lucky for me, it has tenure on the limited late-night menu, which is served Thursday-Saturday until 12 a.m.

Always game for a house specialty, hubby went for the signature 13th Street ribeye ($20.95), a 13-ounce medium-rare masterpiece, hogging plate space from a mountain of garlic mashed potatoes and a trio of grilled zucchini strips. Perhaps still basking in the afterglow of the mac and cheese, my usually ravenous other half had enough leftovers for a second meal.

13th Street Pub and Grill offers more than a smattering of vegetarian options, so I decided to try a meatless main course, the mushroom Wellington ($13.95). The carnivore in me didn't miss a thing. Flaky puff pastry enshrouded chopped mushrooms, carrots and celery--the veggies were perfectly cooked to yield to my tooth without the mushiness common to the slow-cooker movement. I also enjoyed a mountain of mashers and grilled zukes wading in a creamy mustard sauce. Shameless in my enjoyment of the dish, I practically licked my plate clean at the finish.

On another evening visit, the Indian summer made seating on the packed Hyde Park patio pleasant, but I had to wonder if it was at the cost of good service. A pal and I listened to our stomachs growl longer than we would have liked while we perused the lengthy wine list. However, when our hummus and pita plate ($5.95) arrived, its ample size and dill-marinated asparagus accompaniment confirmed that all was gastronomically well again. The thick-cut, skin-on fries on my friend's entree plate outshined the roast beef grinder ($9.95), but she still gobbled every scrap of the tender meaty sandwich. Equally generous in size, my Greek salad with grilled salmon added ($11.95, with grilled salmon) didn't stand a chance against my appetite. Creamy feta and tangy vinaigrette made the pile of spinach as rich as the salmon that topped it.

When quality and quantity come together in equal proportion, the result is a dining establishment that makes my personal Top 10 list, even if service is inconsistent. Besides, I have a birthday coming up. I know I can count on 13th Street Pub and Grill to serve up my childhood favorite on steroids, and that beats cake and ice cream any day in my book--even if you can't put candles in macaroni and cheese.

--Sarah Barber thinks macaroni and cheese takes the cake.

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about 13th Street Pub and Grill.

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