Exit 4

153 E Main St. Mount Kisco, NY 10549 • (914) 241-1200exit4foodhall.com

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The concept of this place is interesting to say the least. Sort of like a mini food court that’s not located in a mall and not made up of your usual chains like Panda Express and Sbarro’s. It’s actually all locally sourced, serving up a jack-of-all-trades menu from all over the map (or more specifically all over Northern Westchseter), yet somehow they manage to let you put it all on one bill (that you kinda have to carry around with you from pavilion to pavilion- it’s complicated).

It’s also a dynamic than can easily become a recipe for disaster should you arrive and not know what you want. Especially with young kids who will quickly become more overwhelmed with the choices than Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson.

On the upside, most everything is surprisingly good, so it’s kinda hard to go too, too wrong, unless you have wildly high expectations. When I say “surprising,” however, I want to temper that by stating that I mean it only in the context of lowered expectations. Nothing will have you swinging from a star, but if you’d rather eat a pig, a fish or a mule, they pretty much have you covered (that was for all you Sinatra fans).

So here’s how I recommend playing it:

Step 1: Grab a table. Put your stuff down and have a member of your party stand guard. The last thing you want to do is get caught with seven trays of grub and nowhere to sit.

Step 2: Order the stuff that takes longer to make first. This would be your pastas, your pizzas, your burger and your bahn mi that are all cooked to order. Whereas the tacos, and barbecue offerings are much more prepped and take about two minutes or less to hit your table. So, assuming you like your family or friends, and want to actually eat “together,” then I recommend doing these options near the end of the batting order.

Step 3: Order stuff that doesn’t need to be ice cold or nice and hot dead last. This would be your sushi and glasses of red wine.

Step 4: Bon apetit!

So now that you’ve circumnavigated one of the more complex dining matrixes in the tri-state, here are my thoughts on the offerings themselves.

First up, let’s start with the sushi, sourced from Mt. Kisco Seafood down the street, so you know it’s pretty darn fresh. But more than just fresh, the sashimi bowls and the maki are really quite inventive and a step up from a lot of other places in the immediate vicinity. Yes, that goes for you Hito and Spoon.

Next up, let’s go Italian. Or more specifically the pizza, because the only pasta I’ve had there was my daughter’s kidsy butter and shells. So not really fair to judge them on that. My daughter, on the other hand, has a ways to go in terms of expanding the ole horizons. As for the pies, I liked both the fig, prosciutto and caramelized onion pie and the one with Brussels sprouts, smoked pancetta and gruyere. Neither compare to the likes of The Parlor in Dobbs or Zero Otto Nove in Armonk, but they hold their own handily against Old Stone and Village Social, which I actually think has one of the best pies in town. Nonetheless, the pizza is good enough to make you forget all about the fact that this place used to be Belizzi (RIP).

And now let’s take things down a notch. As in down South. As in TexMex and barbecue. Starting at the top, I’d go with the brisket sammy. It’s quite solid, topped with a bourbon sauce, slaw and cornichon. After that I’d go with the pulled pork. The sauce has a nice kick to it and it also comes with slaw on it as well. It’s not what I would call a runaway smash hit, but unless you’re willing to roll your bones all the way over to Portchester for Q, then it’ll do the trick. That said, little known secret- Dinosaur BBQ is available via Fresh direct. As is some seriously spicy slaw and brioche sliders. So if you don’t feel like venturing out for your barb-e-fix, then call in the reinforcements. Oh, and skip the tacos if you ask me. Truck and Hacienda are both miles better.

And most importantly… the booze. They have a nice selection of beer and wine by the glass so no complaints there either. Nor do I have many complaints on the whole. Exit 4 is a nice addition to the hood and the only other “something-for-everyone” deal in town apart from Village Social. So, if you’re like me and you’re saddled with two kids who don’t agree on anything when if comes to food, this “good enough” fare quickly becomes good on ya!

3 teeth

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Num Pang

21 E 12th St. New York, NY 10003(212) 255-3271 numpangnyc.com

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I’ve been going to Num Pang since they were one location in Union Square. And back then they definitely owned every last drop of these four knives. But since they’ve expanded all over the city, they have unfortunately lost a step. Granted it’s a small, baby step, but a step nonetheless.

Some of the enduring wows are the 5 spice pork belly and the hoisin meatballs. But with special sandwiches like the grilled peaches & bacon, duck, grilled salmon and meatloaf they keep things interesting.

Honorable mentions are in order for the tiger shrimp, the peppercorn catfish and brisket, which would’ve gotten more love if it wasn’t served so dry. But virtually every sandwich here rocks with its spicy, messy goodness seeping from the sides. Just don’t forget to grab some Sriracha.

On the non-sandwich front their hot & sour chicken soup is killer and their blood orange lemonade is a great accompaniment to any of the above.

Such a great option when you’re sick of the same old sandwiches, but still want a sandwich. One with a little Vietnamese/Cambodian Banh mi action.

4 teeth

Le Colonial

20 Cosmo Pl. San Francisco, CA 94109(415) 931-3600lecolonialsf.com

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It’s hard to get excited about Le Colonial, only because this is the third one I’ve been to. Granted, all three were good. Obviously New York, the original. LA, the sequel. And now this one. And it’s been about 15 years since I ate at the first one. So, it’s menu and concept have been copied in droves ever since.

But all that aside, it still holds its own. And while I find the decor in the other two to be a bit more refined, this one was my favorite. The way in which you enter is such a transformative experience it sorta reminded me of Spice Market in NYC. Granted nowhere near that level, but because you go from a sketchy alley in the Loin into a French Vietnamese palace, the shift is quite dramatic.

As for service, we had a very large party and they handled it like pros. So kudos there as well.

And as far as food goes, most of it was a solid good, with a few highlights. Those being the duck spring rolls (ask for Srirachi). The ribs. The beef stew with Scotch eggs- perhaps my favorite thing of the night. And for dessert, both the chocolate cake and the banana spring rolls were money.

So hats off to keeping up the standards for 15 years and two sequels later. But unfortunately there are a lot of other games in town that make it hard to give you more than 3 knives.

3 teeth

The Slanted Door

1 Ferry Bldg. Ste 3 San Francisco, CA 94111(415) 861-8032 • slanteddoor.com

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Incredible location with a killer view of The Bay. Cool decor and good service. And for those who say it’s pricey, I can’t agree. At least not by NYC standards. The name sounds a touch on the racist side however, but since no one else seems offended by it I guess I’ll roll.

The food, depending on what you order, can also be impressive, which inherently implies it’s a bit hit and miss. For example:

Vegetarian spring roll: miss
Slanted Door roll: miss
Imperial roll: Oh My Fucking Good!
BBQ Ribs: Solid
Clams app: blah
Squid App: Killiscious!
Spicy vermicelli: Just okay.
Lemongrass Chicken: Eh.
Catfish: Best of all

So, my advice, order wisely. Or order a lot. We obviously did, but to be fair their were six of us, including Biz Stone. Not that he eats a lot. This is jus a gratuitous name drop to boost the views of this post. But it is true. He was there. And hopefully he will retweet the review, assuming he agrees with it.

3 teeth