A Liquid Snapshot: Pour Mt. Kisco

Sad to say, at our age, the appeal of bars has waned. Where once we loved the (apparently) teenage crowd, the brain-splitting volume, the beer fug and filthy ladies’ rooms, now we can’t name the last bar we truly enjoyed. (We’re not counting pubs here—they’re quiet, welcome folks over 30, and don’t serve candy-themed body shots. We’re also giving the stunning Yonkers riverside bars a pass—mostly for their lovely outdoor seating.)

We were surprised, then, when we visited Pour  in Mount Kisco as part of an upcoming article on enotecas. Our bar prejudice was shaken as soon as we parked on Mount Kisco’s Main Street. There, across from the Flintstonian stone-veneered Mount Kisco Diner, and up a long walkway, sits a cute turn-of-the-century twin house with gingerbread trim and a sweet little porch that winds halfway round one corner. (The twin’s other side shelters a CPA.) The building is modest in size and is quite well preserved—but not so “restored” that no genuinely old material remains. This is a lovingly cared-for house that wears its age well, still presiding over its gracious yard and ever-changing Mount Kisco.

Inside, Pour’s intimate rooms feel more clubby than barroom-y, and, in their modest scale, also feel more like someone’s home than a business. The multiple, interlinked rooms flicker with warm, golden candlelight and not, thankfully, the cold blue glow of television sets. There’s no lotto machine, nor a juke box; you won’t even hear the ping and bleep of an analog pinball machine. This is a place for un-mechanized relaxation – and, as a bonus, you can even sit on the porch and watch life drift by on Main Street.

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One of Pour’s several charms is its menu, which features many of the bar bites found at enotecas. Not surprising, owner Anthony Colasecco modeled Pour’s menu on two of New York’s most successful enotecas, Manhattan’s ‘inoand inoteca . (For those counting, Port Chester’s Nessa  also was heavily influenced by these related, wildly popular, wine-and-snack bars.) Pour is keeping within the true enoteca tradition and serving snacks that support the wine list, though; Nessa’s wines play supporting roles to a full menu. It’s a matter of stress, and Pour holds to the wine-first, enoteca tradition.

In case you’re wondering, Italy’s enoteche—the plural—are like wine-tasting centers for purchasers, where visitors can sample a region’s wines before buying. (Italian producers don’t sample and vend at their vineyards, as is common in France and California.) Enoteche often offer simple snacks as an amenity–and to soak up all that wine.

At Pour, we started with a lovely basket of walnut-sized arancini (risotto balls) which were crisp, light, and greaseless, even though they were deep-fried. Their golden shells yielded to a pure white, deliciously cheesy interior. This dish got our attention–Pour’s arancini were the best local example that we’ve had. (Arancini, while not too hard to find, often are baseball-sized and soaked with grease.) Following that, we had a gutsy (and yummy) white-bean dip, generously fortified with Pecorino Romano and Gorgonzola, which arrived with a stack of warm, prettily toasted slices of Sullivan Street baguette. Then came a soulful fontina panino with caramelized onions and white truffle oil—finely gooey and luscious, served on a perfectly pressed and striated Sullivan Street ciabatta. Everything we ate—from dips to flatbreads and pizzas – was delicious and perfectly executed. Given all that we sampled, we didn’t manage to explore Pour’s charcuterie and cheese selection, though it does look promising.

Pour’s wine list is not vast, but it’s well designed. The wines are categorized by intensity—in white wines, for instance, you’ll find the wines organized under the following headings: “light, crisp wines—refreshing and bright,” “medium-bodied whites—seductive and balanced,” and “full-bodied whites—lavish and plush.” This is helpful guidance for customers who may know what type of wine they prefer, but might not be familiar with each maker. Following the cue for full- bodied whites, we loved our reasonably priced, refreshing (though not insipid) Auratus Alvarinho. Bonus: we could enjoy this Portuguese porch sipper literally out on the porch.

After a great summer evening at Pour, we introduced ourselves to owner Anthony Colasecco and learned something that warmed the cockles of our ex-cookie heart: his immaculate, tiny kitchen is only slightly better equipped than the average college dorm room. He’s got an electric crockpot (for Pour’s meatballs, served a la sliders on tiny potato rolls), a tabletop deep fryer, a microwave, and a panini press. That’s it. No oven, gas burners, salamander, grill—nothing. Squat. Zilch. Nada. (Why? Don’t tell anyone, but Pour’s kitchen is zoned “Assembly Only.”)

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In this way, Pour reminds us of the fabled (and now, sadly, defunct) Chicken Bone Café  in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which thrived under a similar set of challenges. Its chef, Zak Pelaccio , used Chicken Bone’s under-equipped, kitchen-of-your-worst-nightmares to launch his stellar career.

While fairly wine-centric, Pour does have a full license and offers boutique liquors (including foodie darling Tuthilltown Distillery ), interesting, oddball sprits, and signature cocktails that feature house-made infusions. Anthony Colasecco, thankfully, has a classicist aesthetic: he uses freshly squeezed juices, infuses his own liquors, and lives to unearth forgotten classics. He brought us, for instance, a chilly, refreshing, World War I-era Sidecar (Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice). We’d never had one before, and it was delicious.

Currently, Pour’s comfy rooms play host to food and wine events. July 8th saw the “Craft Beer and Artisan Cheeses” evening featuring Scott Vaccaro of Pleasantville’s Captain Lawrence Brewery  and Scott Brenner of the Manhattan fromage-fiend destination, Murray’s Cheese Shop . (For a complete list of scheduled events, check Pour’s website, www.pourmtkisco.com/upcoming-events.html, or sign up for its convenient newsletter; info is on the website). Besides the scheduled events, Colasecco is planning to feature themed tasting flights—including an Absinthe tasting (which may or may not be technically legal—but we won’t fink).

All told, Pour is a revelation for bar-weary diners. Great food, great wine, fun drinks, and clean bathrooms. (We don’t know about you, but for us, dirty bathrooms became a deal-breaker at about age 30.) There are no lemon-drop body shots, no De Kuyper Appletinis, and absolutely no beer fug. Sounds like heaven to us.

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