NYC Cheap Eats: Luigi’s Delivers, Afghan Kebab House #1 Does Not

Date November 26, 2008

NYC Food Guy’s M.O. is delicious and affordable. My cheap eats repertoire is strong. And in the current economic state, bang for your buck carries added importance. Chicken parmesan heroes and Afghani kebabs don’t exactly go hand in hand, but two Midtown West establishments, Luigi’s and Afghan Kebab House #1 both offer what seem to be great deals. Unfortunately, only one lives up to the stringent NYC Food Guy standard of delicious AND affordable.


A Chicken Parm Hero That’s Twice The Size of a $10 Bill But Almost Half the Price


Luigi’s $7 Chicken Parmesan Hero Proves Size Does Matter, But It Comes Cheap


Afghan Kebab House #1’s $13.95 Combo Kebab Is Plentiful, But Is It Worth Nearly $16 With Tip?

$7 for a two-meal sandwich? I’m Sold!

Luigi’s is not my new favorite Chicken Parmesan hero, that honor still belongs to Tuscany’s Chicken Parm on Baguette, but it’s going to be hard not choosing Luigi’s because they deliver a hero that can span two meals for just $7. It’s loaded up with hearty, white meat breaded chicken breasts and a good amount of mozzarella cheese. Unfortunately, the generic tomato sauce left a little to be desired, but the sandwich isn’t swimming in it so us bang for your buck-o’s can still feel good about the purchase.


The standard Italian hero roll came toasted crispy, the better to prevent sogginess during the speedy delivery, but it turned messy as eating progressed, requiring some sandwich rearranging to prevent the chicken and cheese from sliding out of the bread.

If you’re stuck in Midtown West and seeking a meal that will fill your belly while leaving your wallet full too, Luigi’s Chicken Parmesan hero is the answer. The actual Luigi’s establishment is nothing to look at, but you’re stomach won’t mind.


Combo Kebab Is Great In Concept, Poor in Execution

Three kebabs (lamb tikka, beef kafta and chicken breast) with basmati rice, salad and Afghan bread for $13.95 sounds like it fits right in the delicious and affordable category. And it would if it was actually delicious. Unfortunately, it was mainly mediocre. The meats were portioned unequally and there wasn’t enough charred vegetables, just a few slices of onion and one piece of red pepper.


The 3 little chunks of lamb were dry and tough, tasting mainly of the fire they were cooked over. The chicken was tender and in the greatest abundance (5 chunks), but lacked any real flavor. The beef kafta (above top left), ground beef studded with scallions, was by far the tastiest, but there were only two.


None of the three sauces provided (minted yogurt sauce, a thin and vinegary tomato based sauce and another minty concoction) added anything to the meal. I tried each sauce with each meat to make sure I wasn’t missing something.

I left the salad for last, thinking they couldn’t go wrong there, but an iceberg salad is only as good as its dressing and with the meats and rice sitting like a rock in my stomach, the minted yogurt sauce was too thick and bland to waste stomach space on.

Sadly, the bread was the best part of the meal. It arrived cool but fresh, airy and light on the inside, slightly tougher on the outside.


When all was said and done, I spent close to $16 on this meal including tip for delivery (which took longer than expected). In the end, I’m glad I tried it just to know for sure that it is definitely not a bang for your buck meal.


(Menu Pages)
936 8th Ave b/t 55th & 56th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 265-7159

Afghan Kebab House #1

(Menu Pages)
764 9th Ave b/t 51st & 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 307-1612

16 Responses to “NYC Cheap Eats: Luigi’s Delivers, Afghan Kebab House #1 Does Not”

  1. Pepper said:

    NYC Food Guy,
    I find the best way to enjoy a Luigi’s Hero is to find someone to split a Chicken Parm and a Meatball Parm. The best of both worlds! What do you think?

  2. Phil said:

    That chicken parm looks great, will most definitely check it out..

    Pepper – love the “splitting the sandwich” thing.. do it all the time at jewish delis..

  3. Ambitious said:

    Thanks for coming by!!!! I’d love to exchange links 🙂 Consider it done!

  4. kristen said:

    size DEFINITELY matters food guy, i don’t care WHAT anyone says…anything to the contrary, THEY”RE LYIN!!!! heheheh

  5. AG said:

    Hey NYCFG,

    Happy Thanksgiving first of all. Glad to see you made it over to Afghan Kebab House, too bad about your experience. It looks like you got take out or delivery which, but I recommend dining in. The food is not amazing, but when dining it the food is much better, juicy, flavorful and fresh. A good value, and a nice change of pace in a neighborhood known for Thai, bars and Italian joints.

    A few reco’s for you, Momofuku Milkbar, Tebaya and Vietnam Ban Mi – So 1. Check out the site for reviews and again have a great holiday.

  6. Sweet Freak said:

    I’m usually an eggplant parm kinda girl, but that chicken parm sub is going down the hatch this week.

    And I think that ten-spot reference for both size and value is the most brilliant thing I’ve seen in a long time.

  7. Before Sunrise said:

    I second what Sweet Freak said about the “ten-spot reference”.

    I’m going to be in that area tomorrow night, so might just try it!

  8. The NYC Food Guy said:

    I’m definitely down with the meatball parm, chicken parm split. Have you tried any other food at Luigi’s?

    Thanks for the reccs. I could see Afghan Kebab being better in house but either way, it didn’t floor me and I don’t see myself craving Afghani kebabs, I’d sooner go for Greek.

    Sweet Freak,

    Did you try the chicken parm yet? Thanks for the kind words about the $10 spot, gotta show scale somehow.

    Before Sunrise,
    Did you try the sandwich? Thanks for the complement.

  9. before sunrise said:

    Not yet FG. My plans changed, but it’s on my list of places to try so will definitely try it next time I’m in the area.

  10. best price shopping said:

    best price shopping…

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  11. John said:

    Dude, good freakin’ call.

    The thing was huge!
    …and I’m not easily impressed.

    You were right about it getting
    messy towards the end, but
    totally worth it… delicious.

    Thanks Food Guy!

  12. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Sweet man. Glad to hear it. Sometimes food is more fun if its a mess.

  13. Master said:

    A little late to put my take on this one, but I’m gonna go ahead and stamp my sign of approval on this one also, Foodguy. I was there a few weeks ago, and for about $7.60 this was one heck of a bargain! Parmesan heroes of all types seem to be the Luigi’s specialty, cheese was excellent, good bread and okay sauce, just a little tough to find a seat.

  14. The NYC Food Guy said:

    You said it man, parm is supreme at Luigi’s. I havent had anything but the chicken though. We usually do it delivery style and it holds up pretty well. Massive sandwich, quality cutlets, decent sauce, a lot of cheese, awesome price. How can you go wrong? Wouldnt say its the best chicken parm ive ever had but im still on the hunt for that. You have a pick for #1 chicken parm?

  15. Master said:

    Not that I know of, and I’m pretty picky about my chicken parmesans too…whether it be on a hero or pizza. Long Island disappoints me for the most part. Perhaps we should go on the hunt together sometime.

  16. Mike said:

    The best place for Middle Eastern is actually a humble cart in Astoria, it even wound up on a travel show in Japan. Falafel King of Astoria makes some pretty tasty Middle Eastern food, including excellent kebabs.

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