Workday lunch can be many things: a microwaved meal at your desk, a greasy slice of takeaway pizza, a fast-casual salad, an extended business meeting. For the most part, there’s some sort of labor element involved. Every now and then, it’s good to take a little break from the stress of the office. And Ravagh Persian Grill (125 First Avenue; 212-335-0207) offers a midday special for just $8.
With white tablecloths and attentive service, the restaurant is a nice getaway from hours of slaving away over a desk. From noon to 3 p.m., it features large plates of beef or chicken koobideh as well as a vegetarian option, with a soup or salad, for under $10.
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill sandwiches. Koobideh is a distinctive Persian kebab. It can be done with lamb, but here, beef is smashed down and blended with a variety of herbs and spices like parsley, onion, garlic, and sumac. The chicken is done in the same vein, with saffron used for the aromatics. Both are then skewered and char-grilled over an open flame.
For lunch, these juicy morsels of meat are rolled in a soft wrap and served with salad or soup. (Platters with rice and grilled vegetables are on the menu for $12 apiece.) Jalapeño cilantro chutney and maast-o khiar (a Persian yogurt and mint sauce, similar to tzatziki) are offered on the side. You should try both.
The atmosphere is relaxed, the service is quick enough for lunch, the portions are impressive, and it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than slurping a Cup Noodles while staring at a computer screen. If you need a cheap treat, this is worth checking out.