Restaurant Preview: Locali Pizza Bar & Kitchen
The latest from Village Social Restaurant Group is a new-school Italian joint just steps off the Metro-North.
At turns garlicky and lemony, with a character-laden charred crust, the clam pie at Locali is one of their best.
Photos courtesy of Locali
As corporate chef of the Village Social Restaurant Group (Pubstreet in Pleasantville, Locali in New Canaan, and Village Social in Rye and Mount Kisco), Mogan Anthony has a full plate of kitchens to oversee. “When I first interviewed and was told it was a multiple-openings group,” explains Anthony, “I said that they needed to have chefs at each for me to come aboard and to keep the consistency and quality high.” With VSRG’s latest then, Locali in Mount Kisco, which opened in March, Mike Montanari comes to the kitchen from Stanziato’s in Danbury as chef de cuisine. “I like the structure here,” says the Ridgefield resident. “Some kitchens are chaos.”
Locali’s menu is Italo-centric, but with Anthony’s signature inclusion of unexpected ingredients, such as hot honey, sriracha, quince, malted walnuts, and hazelnut oil. “I prefer to go easy on the butter and cream and find other ways to enhance the flavor of food,” says Anthony.
Hot honey, garlic chips, citrus, and basil adorn the whipped ricotta appetizer
Starters include shaved organic cauliflower with dates, cashews, and pine nuts; imported sheep’s milk ricotta, whipped with buttermilk and lemon zest, spread over stupendous filone bread (courtesy TriBeCa’s Grandaisy Bakery); crispy baby artichokes with citrus and pecorino; and chestnut bruschetta liberally topped with apples and creamy Humboldt Fog.
Main plates include dishes such as baked cod with clams, couscous and ’nduja (spicy Calabrian spreadable pork salumi), and pork chop milanese, plus pastas by Brooklyn’s Sfoglini (the fusilli à la vodka with house-made shrimp sausage is a recommended order).
Pizzas from a gas-assisted, applewood-fired Pavesi oven are the menu all-stars, made from a dough fermented 48 hours and cooking in just 2½ to 3½ minutes. “We’re going for a crust that’s a cross between New York and Neapolitan,” says Anthony.
Sure there’s a classic Margherita, but the bulk of the pies showcase Anthony’s creativity and passion for wide-ranging ingredients. There’s the 3AM (San Marzano tomatoes, pepperoni, Calabrian chili, smoked mozz, sliced garlic), the Calabria S25K (’njuda, scamorza, jalapeño, dollops of ranch dressing, garlic), and the Snake Oil (San Marzano tomatoes, capicola, fior di latte, pecorino, garlic, sriracha, honey).
For dessert, don’t miss the light, no-bake ricotta cheesecake with orange blossom water.
How does Anthony manage his time among all the restaurants? “I’ll be at the newest property and once it’s underway, go to a rotating weekly stint at the others.” So while he is mostly at Locali Mount Kisco these days, his future schedule may have him in Pleasantville: Fatt Root, VSRG’s casual, Chipotle-style Asian-rice-bowl eatery, is scheduled to open in the village this summer.
2 Kirby Plz, Mount Kisco