Sandwiches

Houston's Best Sandwiches: Grilled Ribeye Steak Sandwich at Eats' Mesquite Grill

When you need a manly hunk of beef on a hoagie roll, Eats' does it right.
When you need a manly hunk of beef on a hoagie roll, Eats' does it right. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

Hempstead Highway between the North Loop and the Beltway can be a rather depressing stretch of local roadway. The one route to Austin from Houston before there was a Highway 290 is still dotted with roadside motels and shadowed by the train tracks that head off into West Texas.

But, those motels are no longer cute Route 66-style spots with "free cable TV" for weary travelers. They now feel a bit like by-the-hour spots and are surrounded by mostly industrial warehouses and manufacturers.

While it might not sound like a fun place for a picnic, a LOT of people work in the area and live close by. That is how Eats' Mesquite Grill, 13918 Hempstead Road, has not only survived but thrived. On a recent weekday, a buddy and I stopped in and were greeted by a large open kitchen and seating area filled with factory workers and guys in polos and khakis. Clearly, the local lunch crowd was rolling in. "It's like a Diners, Drive-Inns and Dives kind of place," my friend remarked, completely accurately. No doubt Guy Fieri would be right at home at the griddle in this place.

Someone recommended this place to me recently and I couldn't believe I had not been in. It's about 10 minutes from my house and it has a lot of what I love: namely sandwiches. In this case, one that absolutely shot off the menu was the grilled ribeye on a hoagie roll. It says "5 to 6oz" and they weren't kidding.

Here's the thing. What they say is what you get. It's bread and meat. Period. But, there is a full table of fixings including lettuce, tomato, pickles, condiments, even steak sauce, which really helped this bad boy along. The steak was remarkably tender, sliced fairly thin but still quite hearty. It had that distinct smell of smoke and was cooked perfectly medium rare as requested.

Next time, I'll probably request some grilled onions and maybe some mushrooms, which were on my friend's grilled chicken hoagie (also excellent). But, overall, just a great sandwich made better by the bread. It was reminiscent of Royal Bakery's po' boy rolls and could have been. The rolls were light, airy with just the slightest chew, and they held up well under the weight of the hunk of meat.

Eats' is just a solid spot with really good grilled items, particularly their sandwiches. And if you don't have time to stop, hit the convenient drive through window which was lined with cars from the time we rolled up until the time we left. I guess it was only a secret to me. Not anymore.

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