Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: Turkey Melt at Relish

The Turkey Melt at Relish Restaurant and Bar probably isn't the best overall sandwich in Houston (it's on the short list, though), but it might be the most well executed.
The Turkey Melt at Relish Restaurant and Bar probably isn't the best overall sandwich in Houston (it's on the short list, though), but it might be the most well executed. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

For me, there are two kinds of meals. There are foods that are so good, you don't care how they look or how they were prepared. They can be sloppy and difficult to eat, but it doesn't matter. Then, there are dishes perfectly executed but without flavor. They are beautiful and well made, but are lackluster overall.

Hopefully, the goal is to get to some spot in between that when preparing any meal. You want it to have some balance of quality preparation and great flavor.

The Turkey Melt at Relish Restaurant and Bar (2810 Westheimer) may not be Houston's overall best sandwich (though it certainly is on my short list), but it has got to be the most well executed.

Let me start by saying this sandwich is long on flavor. The beautifully roasted turkey is tender and herbaceous, the tomato aioli is rich and tangy, the coriander onions (yay!) are sweet and the whole thing is balanced perfectly against the peppery arugula, the mild cheddar cheese and toasted sourdough. This sandwich tastes fantastic.

But, what sets it apart is the execution. Every single component is perfectly prepared from the fresh turkey to the tomato aioli to the caramelized onions. Each part was thought out and carefully considered. Just the idea of replacing an actual tomato, which for my money is better left off hot sandwiches in general because of how mushy it becomes at higher temperatures, with a tomato-based mayo is brilliant. And coriander in caramelized onions? Genius.

Even the sourdough is perfectly golden brown with enough pliability to give when biting into it, without sacrificing that satisfying crunch.

Like I've written before, there is only so much you can do with a turkey sandwich, but Relish has done a LOT and they have done it so well, it is worth trying something you might bypass simply because it's, well, a turkey sandwich.

And as an aside, what has happened to melts? There are grilled cheese sandwiches everywhere but turkey melts and tuna melts seem rather scarce. We need a new melt trend in our lives.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke