Anytime Dining at Mt. Kisco’s Exit 4 Food Hall
Anytime Dining at Mt. Kisco’s Exit 4 Food Hall: They’re eating all day long (and nighttime too) at the new Exit 4 Food Hall in Mt. Kisco. This new one-stop dining hall from Isidore “Isi” Albanese, the former owner of Bellizzi, and partners is like a school cafeteria for foodies serving up “something for everybody” from sushi to pizza to BBQ and raw bar from a variety of local chefs.
Keeping company “between shifts”
Exit 4 is not only the place to go when you’re not sure what you want to eat; it’s also your answer to anytime dining. If you hate walking into an empty restaurant “between shifts” you’re never late (or early) for lunch or dinner at Exit 4. We were there at 2pm on a Wednesday during Winter Break, 9pm on a Tuesday and 4pm on a Saturday and the place was bustling every time with couples, families, the suit and tie crowd and lone wolves eating solo.
“We decided it was time to grow up,” Isi told us about his decision to renovate the old Bellizzi space, famous for kids’ pizza and arcade birthday parties. Working with local woodworkers, metal-workers and masons he completely transformed the space into a contemporary bistro with floor to ceiling windows in the front, brick walls, subway tile and recycled wood tables from felled trees harvested after the last winter storm. “Everything is made locally,” Isi said. “All the tables and chairs and bar lamps.” Well, everything except the old Adirondack rowboat over the raw bar.
A confederacy of local chefs re-define eclecticism
Isi also went full on local when he upgraded the menu that not only emphasizes locally sourced seasonal ingredients but taps into the local expertise of other Mt. Kisco restaurateurs and food mongers. By partnering with other chefs, Isi came up with an ingenious work-around to the sometime sticky issue of a restaurant trying to be all things to all people.
While the former Bellizzi chefs handle the Fuocco Wood Fired Pizza station and the Piacci Pasta Bar, Isi relies on Joe Dimauro, the seafood king from Mt. Kisco Seafood, to manage their Rawsome Seafood Bar and their daily procurement of fish and shellfish from the Fulton Fish Market. The Inno Sushi station is likewise handled by Sushi by James – the same people who prepare the sushi at Mt. Kisco Seafood.
John Cioffi, the former owner of Mt. Kisco’s A&S Pork Store handles the Rotiss-A-Q station that serves pulled pork or chicken sandwiches amazing ribs, prime rib sandwiches, free bird rotisserie chicken, chili and traditional BBQ sides like corn bread and Mac N’ Cheese. They also serve burritos and tacos with slow cooked brisket and lots of toppings.
Myong Feiner of Myong Gourmet handles the salads at their Dirty Roots station and also offers up some of her signature dishes like her Asian inspired cellophane wraps, her famous Bok Choy Salad and Ahi Banh Mi sandwich that she serves on a steamed bun.
Doing hip things with coffee, wine & beer
John Flynn, a certified cicerone beer server from Cask Republic, an affiliate of NYC’s The Ginger Man that operates in Greenwich and New Haven, helms the craft beer and wine program and the bar at X4 On Tap. “I’m a big fan of Allagash and we’re almost always pouring White, Tripel and Curieux,” he told us. “We do tap take-over nights, rare beer nights and bottle share nights” – a BYOB evening where people share their own rare beers. John serves 8 lines of wine, featuring New York’s Millbrook Winery and recently started a cellar program where he will vintage wines.
John is also collaborating with local brewers on custom seasonal brews and he’s rolling out an innovative beer and wine cocktail list that includes his signature Salted Caramel Cream Stout, made with chocolate stout and cold brew coffee from Exit 4’s coffee program that he also manages. He serve blends from BPM Roasters and a Nitro coffee – a cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen that, he told us, “pours like Guinness. The cold brew brings out the sweetness in the bean and the nitrogen gives it a creamy texture. We’re trying to do anything we can to be hip.”
What we liked
After three trips we still didn’t get to all the stations but we were impressed with the wood fired Chesapeake Bay oysters with morel mushrooms and shallots, the West Coast oysters that had a sweet watermelon finish, the New England clam chowder and the lobster roll – a mayo-less salad made with Nova Scotia lobster served at the Rawsome Seafood Bar. At Inno Sushi we tried a Signature Poke’ Bowl – sashimi style servings of fresh fish served on a base of white or brown rice or mixed vegetables and topped with a variety of sauces such as Yuzu Kosho or Bibim Bob.
We highly recommend the rib tickler from Rotiss-A-Q. Three fall apart slow-cooked, dry-rub ribs, with a judicious dab of BBQ sauce. They were big enough to be a dinner entrée and a steal at $10.
From the Piacci Pasta Bar we had the Black linguini with laughing bird shrimp. The shrimp was just okay but we fought over the black linguini tossed in a light red chili lemon sauce. It was simply delicious and had an incredible bite. We’d like to see an appetizer-sized portion of this. We went with the signature Stracciatella with wild mushrooms and black truffle olive oil from the Fuocco Wood Fired Pizza station. It was a good call. We also liked Myong’s falafel with cabbage slaw, tahini and cilantro and the Parmesan truffle and herb fries. We never made it to the bar (how did that happen?) X4 on Tap that has it’s own tasting menu that includes grilled octopus, steamed mussels and Korean or buffalo wings, Dirty Roots, the Charcuterie station or the Paninis but we’re going back …
Suitable for feasting, grazing or grabbing
Exit 4 does a good job of tapping into a variety of chefs who have partnered with Isi Albanese to supply anything and anytime dining. The “food hall” menu makes it a perfect lunch or dinner venue for couples and large parties who can’t agree on what they feel like eating. The beer and wine station coupled with the small plates menu is suitable for grazers who want to nosh and quaff or hang out and watch a ballgame. The small plates menu also draws a crowd between meals so there’s always a scene even if you need to dine at 5 to catch a 7 o’clock flick or grab a bite at 9 after baseball practice.
We admit that game planning the intricate web of stations while keeping an eye out for a seat at the communal tables (rustic wood and iron tables with bar height chairs) in the desirable front room seemed daunting on our first trip. But somehow all the stations wire your bill into a central location and once you find a seat they bring your food to the table. The second time in, we knew the drill and it was all good.
(Exit 4 Food Hall, 153 Main Street, Mt. Kisco, 914.241.1200; www.exit4foodhall.com) Sun-Thurs: 11am-10pm & Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm.
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