Lunch Time Dilemma

Lunch Time Dilemma

EXKi (©Lois Anzelowitz Levine)

As everyone in my office can attest to, I am a creature of habit when it comes to lunch. For the past three years, come noon (almost to the second), I have been taking a brish walk around the corner from our offices on Madison Avenue and picking up lunch at a well known deli chain in the city.

Today (who knows: New Year, new walk?) I decided to mix it up and so headed across the street where a (relatively) new, eat-in, take-out lunch spot, EXKi is housed (a play on the French word “exquis” for “exquisite”) across the street from the IN/WHERE offices. The bright, clean and casual restaurant (the brainchild of three former Belgian classmates: There are EXKis in Paris, the Netherlands and Milan) doesn't have a great variety to offer, but promises in “fresh, locally sourced and—whenever possible—organic ingredients,” which is always reassuring, now that we all have become overly educated in the dangers of farmed fish, non-grass fed cows, vegetables sprayed with pesticides and the like. I stared at the sandwiches and sides for about 15 minutes: The truth is, everything looked delicious. Finally, I opted for a smoked salmon sandwich with cucumber, tomato, dill and baby arugula: and two sides, a side of orzo kale; and a lentils and Brussels sprouts salad with celery root and mustard. Hot and cold sandwiches are offered on baked baguettes, multigrain ciabattas and sourdough tartines. Other offerings include hot dishes (a tart of goat cheese, tomato and cilantro, or hot Brussels sprouts with roasted pumpkin) and a variety of soups, and breakfast specials include croissants as well as regular and gluten-free muffins. For a casual, self-service bistro, the prices are not cheap (relatively small sides run close to five dollars, sandwiches between seven and eight), but the food is well-flavored, most definitely fresh and a few grades above any generic local deli. If you find yourself in the Murray Hill area and are looking for something in between fine dining and a generic deli, this is worth the trip.

» EXKi NYC, 76 Madison Ave., at 28th St., 212.447.1874, plus one other location