I've gotten loads of sandwich suggestions (if yours hasn't made it in this space yet, chances are it is on the list) from the good readers of the Houston Press, and, not surprisingly, plenty of bánh mìs among them. But, by far, the place recommended most for these delicious Vietnamese sandwiches that are a staple of the Houston food lover's diet was Roostar Vietnamese Grill. And, let me just say, you guys were not wrong.
I had been to Roostar at 1411 Gessner quite some time ago and it was very good, but I hadn't found a bánh mi there to rank with my beloved grilled pork option at Cali. Then I read a mention on social media from Press writer Mai Pham that Roostar had recently changed the bread they used, working with local favorites Slow Dough Bakery to produce the perfect bánh mì roll.
As much as I love bread (too much, to be honest), it was the chopped ribeye that caused me to take notice. Pham said it was Roostar's play on bulgogi, the marinated Korean meat delicacy. It makes sense. Rootstar is right at the end of Long Point Road, near some of Houston's best Korean joints. And the filling did live up to the billing (all rhymes intended).
The meat was tender and flavorful. The classic additions of cilantro, cucumber, pickled carrots and a mild garlic mayo were all perfectly paired with the deep, rich beef flavor — as per usual I eschewed the jalapeño because I'm a wuss.
But, my goodness, the bread. You could have handed me a plain roll with nothing on it and I'd eat it like Jesus himself created it from the five loaves he used to feed 5,000 in the Bible, because that's how good it tasted. It was damn near perfection, light and barely chewy with a slight bite from the exterior. It was like biting into a crusty cloud made of yeast and angel tears (I assume).
I'm not saying the filling wasn't fantastic. It absolutely was, but that bread was one of the best rolls I've eaten in my life and we're talking about someone who seeks out bread with the same level of obsession tabloid magazines search for new stories to run about Jennifer Aniston (can they just leave Rachel alone already?). I encourage you to run, not walk (or drive because you'll need to work off the calories) to Roostar and get one immediately. Maybe grab a side of bread for the road. That's what I'll be doing next time.
If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.