Beer, Burgers and Tuna Tempura
With a new menu as diverse as its seating arrangements, this Mt. Kisco eatery takes patrons to the four corners of the earth—and back home again.
There aren’t very many restaurants where you can drop $100 on dinner, get together for beer and burgers, or hold your kid’s 10th birthday party. But the Lexington Square CafÃ© in Mount Kisco fits all these criteria, successfully, judging by the crowds.
Fortunately, it’s large enough that you can choose your experience by where you sit. As grandly proportioned as a ballroom, the main dining room has a sweeping staircase worthy of Scarlet O’Hara. A dining mezzanine overlooks the room, beautifully decorated with alabaster chandeliers and sconces. behind a great wall of wood and glass is a bar, with a lively trade in martinis and oysters. At the top of the stairs is an aerie for quiet dining.
And the kids? Well, usually they’re either out on the patio, or seated opposite an open pastry station in front. But one night, a pack of ten-year-old boys and their parents were in possession of one large corner of the restaurant, festooned with helium balloons.
I was surprised—shouldn’t they be at McDonalds? “We actually do quite a few kids’ parties,” explained our waitress. “we’re not so upscale.”
The menu is new American, with homegrown traditions and strong international influences from Italy, Asia, France, even the middle East and Mexico. For example, Asia (fish braised in green Thai curry with stir-fry vegetables and jasmine rice); Italy (fresh ricotta ravioli or orecchiette with homemade lamb sausage); France (filet mignon with boulangere potatoes, haricots verts and merlot reduction) and America (roasted free-range chicken with mashed potatoes). So one thing you have here is choice!
We started with the special salad of the day—arugula with roasted asparagus, pine nuts, and what I thought was billed as blue cheese but turned out to be chunks of a bland semisoft cheese. Much better was tuna tempura—a sushi-style roll lightly coated with a batter and flash-fried so that the six pieces are warm and slightly crispy on the outside, with the tuna still rare. A pretty mound of fresh cabbage, carrots, onion, chives and pickled ginger made for a lively, slightly hot salad.
A hundred wines, mostly from California, make up the affordably priced wine list, with lots of good choices in the $20-$40 range. An unusually high number of beers are available on draft, including Bass Ale, Brooklyn Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and there are any number of fanciful concoctions called “martinis” that wander far from the classic drink of gin and vermouth. (The chocolate martini is made with Stolichnaya Russian vodka and Godiva chocolate liqueur.)
One of the specials was a big, beautiful fillet of chinook or “king” salmon, so-called because it is the largest, most prized type of wild Alaskan salmon, with flavor and texture superior to farmed Atlantic salmon. This gorgeous, naturally pink fillet was oven-roasted to within a silky, moist moment of “doneness,” and served with a black pepper beurre blanc over broccoli rabe and pan-fried fingerling potatoes.
Equally outstanding was another special: grilled and tender pork loin with a hot chili rub, served with roasted yellow tomato sauce over a buttery potato hash; baby pattypan squash picked up nice flavors from the smoky tomato sauce.
For dessert, we tried the house favorite, a “gooey” double chocolate cake with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. It was a tad overcooked but still made for a satisfying chocolate experience. Even richer is the Bavarian, an individual dessert made with a crust of chocolate cake crumbs, a thick layer of strawberry cream, and an even thicker layer of white chocolate mousse. Good, though I don’t think it was made the same day.
The cappuccino was a little ho-hum. A restaurant of this size needs a dedicated “barrista” who can do a perfect cup, because that’s what you expect when you’re dropping $100 on dinner for two. Besides, all those parents need something to go with birthday cake.
LEXINGTON SQUARE CAFE
510 Lexington Avenue, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
Lunch, Mon. to Sat. 11:30 am-4 pm
Dinner, Mon. to Thurs. 5-10 pm, Fri. and Sat. 5-11 pm, Sun. 5-9 pm
Brunch, Sun.11:30 am-3 pm