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