Though the lineage from the City of Brotherly Love is unmistakable, Pete's Philly ($9.25) at Market Square Bar & Grill in Houston—with recognizable Texan, Mexican, and Vietnamese components—is also quite reflective of its diverse home metro.
Taking the name of its originator, Pete Little (the longtime host of a local Irish music show), it features thinly sliced sirloin cooked on a flat grill mixed with quickly grilled slices of fresh jalapeño, a touch of garlic, soft sautéed onions, and crumbles of blue cheese and mozzarella in an airy, small baguette from a nearby Vietnamese bakery. The savory, high-quality beef meshes wonderfully with the slight sweetness of the onions and the tanginess of the blue cheese, which, along with the mild mozzarella, complements the spice and flavor of the jalapeño. These peppers and the bread's crust, provide a bit of textural contrast to the rest of the sandwich. It comes with a mixture of mayonnaise, horseradish, and cayenne on the side that can offer a delectable assist to the Philly and, more so, the perfectly crisp, thin fries.
Market Square Bar & Grill is downtown set among a short row of century-old buildings that face the nicely revitalized Market Square Park. The bar's brick interior, pressed tin ceiling, and tidy, ivy-covered courtyard help provide a comfortable stop for lunch or dinner and a pint before a ballgame at MinuteMaid Park, a ten-minute walk away.