Garden Kebab House Does Chicken Right

Can yet another Halal offering near Penn Station survive all the competition? If you order carefully, Garden Kebab House just might turn you into a regular. Many items are beyond the ML budget, but the smaller platters and sandwiches still fit the bill and the stomach. Well, almost.

Nope, it’s not a street cart, but an actual brick-and-mortar just across the street from Penn Station on the south side. However, their tiny hectic space is hardly set up for lingering, especially with the constant foot traffic letting in a wintry draft. The waitress is frazzled by all the requests and maneuvering around the people waiting for their takeout. Your real reason to eat in would be getting your food fresh off the grill and request more warm bread. But if your office is close enough, do yourself a favor and grab your lunch to-go.

Most platters come with a bed of rice or bulgur. The meat to filler ratio on the smaller platters is just a bit too small to make me happy, though you can get an extra skewer for a few more bucks. Then again, if you’re not going for a brick in your stomach for the entire afternoon, their servings make sense.

What they lack in portions, they make up with quality meat and veggies. No need to challenge your stomach’s strength here. And even better are their grilled masters. I like nothing better than a good bit of char on my meat, with plenty of juiciness to bite into. Their doner and chicken adana satisfy, but the chicken kebab stands out. Maybe I’m just not a big fan of ground meat, but their cubes of whole chicken meat hit the spot for me. Too many midtown places grill the life outta chicken, but Garden Kebab’s grill masters manage to keep it tender.

I don’t dare say whether a place is Greek, Lebanese, Turkish, Israeli…especially if the place labels some menu choices as both gyro (Greek) and doner (Turkish). Instead, I drag my Turkish coworker with me to clear things up. He’s excited by “Brick Oven Pizza” written on the awning. It must be lahmacun (one of my favorite things in the world, awesome thin pies spread with spiced ground lamb), but it’s nowhere on the menu. When he asks the guys behind the grill in Turkish if there’s any lahmacun, they shake their heads. Not the answer we wanted to hear, but at least we know the place is Turkish!

Taking someone to eat their native cuisine rarely ends well, and unfortunately this attempt was no different. He ordered the Iskender Kebab, which looked promising, but after one bite with the yogurt sauce, and he was immediately put off by a sweetness in the yogurt. At $16, there’s little room for error. However, my Chicken Shish Kebab rings up at $9. All but one of the small platters are under $10, and sandwiches hover around $8.

Best part about a brick-and-mortar? A wood burning oven, and someone making fresh Turkish pide/bread! One time I ordered a platter to go after 2pm and got some sad packaged pita bread. Okay, the Brooklyn institution Damascus Bakeries is far from horrible, but packaged stale pita bread will never compare to bread fresh out of an oven. Do NOT go off-hours if you want your fresh pide.

Garden Kebab House, 252 West 31st Street (btw. 7+8th) 212-868-0080


  • Hey Fred… looks like there’s been another bit of a cock-up on the content front this week


    (The better late than never but still very sad no Tuesday content edition)

  • Yeah, happy holidays all as we think back to better times and mourn the slow death of ML. :( (Remember those Forums? And ML HH posts? And all that fun stuff that only the Ghost of Christmas Past is enjoying now.)

  • Zach: Ebeneezer Scrooge
    Rudy: Jacob Marley
    Brian Hoffman: Bob Cratchit
    Yvo: Mrs. Cratchit
    Jamie: Martha Cratchit
    Chris H: Tiny Tim
    Goats: Ghost of Christmas Past
    Cheese: Ghost of Christmas Present
    Stevenp: Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come
    Wayne: Fezziwig
    Fred: Fred (Scrooge’s nephew)

    and NYCFoodGuy in a brief cameo as GAY SUPERMAN

    DocChuck was not available due to medical complications following his prison stay

  • do I have any lines, or do I just sit around in a few scenes as eye candy?

    • In the updated version of the tale Fred is accosted by the town vagabond in the alley beside the vomitorium and buggered senseless … so no actual lines per se

      • In case my schedule at the quarry doesn’t permit me to be on the set on time, Ned Beatty can stand (sit? squat? bend?) in for me

      • Speaking of buggering, you might have to get double-freaky on this post as we continue to celebrate the 12 content-free days of xmas

      • I know, I mean, Jaime has a picture of her butt over on the Philly site, and here? as Yukon Cornelius once said – NUTTIN!

      • Well ML is starting to resemble The Island of Misfit Toys, with Zach as the the Bumble


    The “I’ll have content for Christmas, but only in my dreams” edition

    • God bless us, everyone

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      Do you like seriously monitor this site 24/7?
      That’s pretty sad dude.
      I come once a day at noon while I’m at work to check for any updates and that’s it.
      I feel bad for you and hope you venture out and get a life this new year.

      • and I pity you, Irv, for joining this site solely and specifically to inject your rather pathetic internet-anon/troll negativity here. I hope you find something more productive and/or positively oriented to do with your time in the new year and beyond

      • Can’t you two just talk about pro wrestling and make up? Merry New Year!

  • While I have you all together, can someone PLEASE tell me if there’s a good Indian cart in the 1 Penn. area? Ever since I moved down from 47th and 6th things are really bleak.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Dave, how the hell did you know I like wrestling?

  • You’re saying he enjoys that hot sweaty male-on-male action? Yeah, that seems about right. Per Seinfeld – “not that there’s anything WRONG with that”

  • subject change – is offline. any able to get ahold of Yvo?

  • I am very sad to report that the 31st St location has closed. Though maybe it’ll be resurrected elsewhere? I loved eating at this place during lunchbreaks.

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