$7 at Istanbul Grill and Deli

Where? Istanbul Grill and Deli (5613 Morningside, 713-526-2800)

What $7 gets you: A gorgeous sandwich and a glass of water.

I stopped by Istanbul Grill and Deli in the Rice Village for lunch with family. It was a scorching day, and Istanbul's cool interior was refreshing. Istanbul has a small interior, only about a dozen tables. After a few minutes of browsing the menu, I picked the adana sandwich ($5.49). The sandwich was large, with lamb patties stuffed in amazingly warm, soft, and hearty homemade pita bread with onions, tomatoes and cabbage. The meat was spicy and sweet, with a texture similar to a hamburger, only about 20 times as tasty as your run-of-the-mill burger. The red cabbage was actually a pickled cabbage and incredibly tart. It was a great contrast to the lamb and balanced the sandwich nicely.

I was amazed how good this sandwich was - I happily shared a bite with my family, but just a bite. I also sampled a bit of my companion's pathcan soslu ($3.49), which was pan-fried eggplant and onion in a tomato sauce, with hot pita - it was simply divine, and she nearly licked the plate clean. To stay in budget (and to make sure I tipped the friendly waiter), I had to settle for bites of my family's food instead of being a glutton.

Recommended? Oh yes. For $7, it's a nice meal, and if you bring your friends, it's a great way to try something new on the cheap.

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