Q&A With Nicolas Steisel, EXKi
EXKi is back in New York City with a new look and an exciting new menu. I had just missed the opening by a few days while I was on the East Coast, but I still got to hear all about the relaunch of EXKi on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. The eatery, which has seen success in several European markets, merges the top quality recipes and ingredients of fine dining with the convenience of a quick-casual eatery.
The updated space features natural light and a live plant installation. EXKi’s new menu includes grab-and-go offerings such as Coconut Chia Bowls topped with pineapple, mango and macadamia nuts, and Local Baby Kale & Avocado Salad tossed with toasted sesame seeds & miso-carrot dressing, Roasted Free Bird Chicken, Roasted Organic Salmon, and Smoked Cauliflower. Dishes range in price from $7-13 and only use the freshest of ingredients.
Although I missed the opening, founder Nicolas Steisel was nice enough to take the time out to answer some questions for us.
What are you looking forward to the most about the EXKi relaunch and the newly renovated space?
We are aiming to fine tune the EXKi concept in NY in terms of product selection, layout, service and marketing – to adapt better to New Yorker’s taste and also adapt our organization to the rules of the game here.
EXKi (from “exquis” in French) personifies the quest for combining both simplicity and exquisite taste. Exquisitetaste in all aspects: in the products of course, but also in the atmosphere and the service. For us, being exquisite means also taking real care of the health of our clients and of the environment, our main supplier.
What have been some of the challenges of bringing an established European brand to New York City?
New York is very, very different from Paris, Milan, Amsterdam or any other city where EXKi is also present and successful. It is not only different in terms of clients’ tastes and available ingredients but also with regards to running a business. Everything is different in NY with regards to operations, real estate, regulations, the farmers and suppliers, and above all with the employees. We have really learned what the cultural differences are and have worked to improve on every level this time.
What is the inspiration behind the new menu offerings?
Lou Ramirez, spearheaded the project and teamed up with talented local chefs to adapt the menu with a better reflection of what New Yorkers are looking for. As in Europe, EXKi promotes vegetables at the forefront of its menu. We believe in a very basic principle in nutrition: eating more vegetables is just the best way to improve nutrition. More vegetables means less calories, less acidic food, adding more natural fiber into your diet, which is easy to digest, and of course securing you get the vitamins and minerals you need, without any of the bad stuff. By the way, eating more vegetables is also the best way to a better ecological footprint for all of us.