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side bar
Thursday, September 28, 2023


Houston restaurant is an unsung hero

A Houstonian culinary icon for almost 100 years, One’s a Meal, formally known as Brooks System Sandwiches, was the first in Houston to be open 24 hours a day and now resides at Westheimer and Montrose next to the police station.

Today, One’s a Meal serves Mediterranean fare like stuffed grape leave, grilled octopus, pizzas, gyros, mousaka and pastas.

Upon first glance, the restaurant looks like any plain eatery, but once the food began to come to the table, “plain” is the last thing that comes to mind.

I have had octopus many times and always had more or less the same experience, a slightly chewy and rubbery flesh with little flavor that relies heavily on some kind of a sauce or is always accompanied by some other protein, but this was something different.

The bright explosion of zesty lime juice and light olive oil combined with the soft surprisingly tender flesh was amazing, paired with an assortment of tomato and cucumber the only thing that could help one enjoy such a dish would be an ice cold beer and an ocean view.

Though some may be hesitant to trying something from the sea that doesn’t have fins and gills, trust me on this, this dish will get you hooked on octopus. Those who have had it before will use One’s a Meal’s as a standard from here on out.

After the appetizer was said and done, I was brought the dish that drove me to try this place, the Gyro Calzone; if stoners ever formed a nation, you will find the Gyro Calzone on their flag.

Weighing in at over a pound of succulent lamb, fresh tomato, and onions all encased in a pizza roll baked to a perfect crisp brown, this will put you into a food coma unlike anything you have ever experienced, and you will accept it with a smile.

The greasy goodness and warm thick bread exterior makes it a meal all on its own, while the flavorful lamb soaks into the bread and is accented by the fresh tomato and onions, the infusion of Italian and Greek staples have never complimented each other so well.

Somehow after the onslaught I waged on the lining of my stomach there was still some room for dessert; unfortunately they were out of pie, which was apparently something they are known for. Instead, I went for the baklava, an endless layering of filo dough and honey with spiced chopped nuts.

The dessert wasn’t anything special, but it was done right—something that most people take for granted. While most of the world has become jaded in search of incredible dishes, it’s the simple things that will take us back to a simpler time.

This is truly an establishment that has stood the test of time and yet still seems to be an unsung hero among the Houston restaurant scene and something that must be experienced at least once; maybe not a Michelin Star winner, but a great place nevertheless.

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