Europe has bequeathed us much to embrace (democracy, art) and much not to (coups, secessions). A new and much less divisive entry into the former is the food hall. This upmarket take on the mall food court has swelled to many major cities, and now we’ve got our very own. Exit 4 Food Hall in Mount Kisco does its pedigree proud, with a range of ethnic, artisanal offerings from local producers. There’s the expected: pizzas (wood-fired and brick oven), handmade pastas, sushi, tacos, and sliders. And the unexpected: sashimi poke bowls, Korean dumplings, Gorgonzola dolcetta. And to wash them down: X4 On Tap’s ciders, global wines, and craft lagers, ales, and drafts.
Perched one weekday afternoon at a rustic communal high-top in the industrial-chic space, my strapping sons and I were assigned a table number, told our food would be brought to us and that we could go choose. Green-lighted, my sons peeled off—one to Mt. Kisco Seafood’s Rawsome stall for day-boat fish tacos (this day’s catch: Montauk porgies) and the oyster sampler, the other to Inno Sushi for the nori-wrapped burrito. I, being less strapping, and with pizzas and pastas beckoning, made them share with me. All of it was terrific, the tacos a melding of warm porgy, crisp greens, and rich avocado tinged with cilantro; the oysters, East and West Coast, plump and fresh; the burrito a mango-sauced spicy-mayo-laced trifecta of salmon, avocado, and cucumber. At X4 on Tap, a Boulevard Ginger Lemon Radler and Down East Cider got my post-college son’s expert approval.
A few short breathers and long gulps of water later, it was on to the big guns: Fuoco Pizza and Piacci Pasta Bar. Fuoco offers a slice of Italian heaven: San Marzano tomatoes, pancetta, fresh ricotta… how to choose! But we did: the fig pizza with prosciutto, caramelized onions, fior di latte, and basil. The toppings were a bit skimpy, but the crust was crisp, charred perfection. Neighboring Piacci may be hiding a nonna in the kitchen by the looks of their fresh pastas, a few of which are gluten-free. Supple four-cheese tortellini were amped with basil pesto and the crunch of toasted pine nuts, and fettuccini Bolognese, though a bit too sweet, was a porky swoon. Sated, even my boys declined dessert (especially shocking since bread pudding was on the menu); we’d catch it on our next visit.
Briny oysters, homemade soups, and more are served at the Rawsome Seafood Bar by Mt. Kisco Seafood
We did, but not before loading up with more delights on a bustling Sunday evening. With all the front-room high-tops jammed with young families, couples, and teens, we were happily led to a low-slung table and pillow-strewn bench in the quieter rear. Quieter… and dimmer: Cell-phone light should not be a menu-perusing requisite. Eyes refocused, choices made, table number assigned; we were off. A return to the Rawsome bar yielded a crunchy, creamy shrimp roll, though the shrimp lacked freshness—perhaps it being a non-delivery Sunday? That wasn’t an issue with Inno Sushi’s spicy tuna poke bowl, a spicy-mayo-striped parfait of greens, avocado, cucumber, and minced tuna crowned with flying-fish roe, atop a bed of rice.
My boys primed, it was carnivore time. Rotiss-A-Q’s Build-Your-Own pulled-pork taco was arguably our favorite dish, the tender meat flush with chipotle barbecue sauce and tangy slaw. At this point, the X4 Small Plates stall sounded about right. Proving that skill, not size, matters, their meatballs were cheesy, garlicky orbs moored in marinara, anchored with spokes of grilled bread. I managed a few bites of beef sliders, Pat LaFrieda’s stellar blend draped with Gruyère and flanked by cornichons.
Yearning for some lighter options, the sandwich/wrap stall’s vegetarian panini—a garden’s harvest on grilled multigrain bread layered with mozzarella and kissed with balsamic—won out over Dirty Roots’ salad of golden beets, pear, and walnuts. The cuteness factor of Piacci’s snail-shell lumache pasta, new to me, was irresistible, especially with its wild mushrooms lightly sauced with truffle butter and a shower of Parmesan. “Lightly” was key at this point, since my reviewer’s duties extend to dessert. Bread pudding time for my boys. Nutmeg-scented brioche, raisins, and sweet apples, was an adequate rendition, though I would have preferred some vibrant vanilla ice cream in place of the whipped cream accompaniment. Just the excuse needed for ordering the vibrant and superb chocolate gelato.
Exit 4 Food Hall
153 East Main St, Mount Kisco