First Bite

Hop on the Rhôtey Rotisserie Hype Train

Are the sandwiches at this hidden strip mall joint really on point? Heck yeah.

By Timothy Malcolm October 25, 2018

The bacon cheddar is all kinds of gooey, meaty beauty. Order it with a side of salt-and-pepper chips.

Like a comet flashing across the night sky or the Texas boy band Brockhampton, that's how fast Rhôtey Rotisserie became a thing. A real, necessary thing for every Houstonian to try. Who cares if this sandwich shop is so far down Westheimer it’s actually near preserves and trails, which seem like foreign words in Houston? Food writers visited and loved it, and now it’s a thing.

Well, here comes another food writer to piggyback the claims of my fellow journalists: Go to Rhôtey Rotisserie.

There are eight sandwiches that include meats like Wayne Farms Naked Truth chicken, Creekstone Farms Angus beef, and Compart Farms porchetta. The meats are cooked in a French-manufactured Rotisol rotisserie oven, while Rhôtey also features a marmalade in half of its sandwiches, made by adding 18-year balsamic vinegar from Olive & Vine to caramelized onions.

I went for the bacon cheddar beef, which stacks a healthy amount of shaved beef below arugula, heirloom tomato, bacon, melted cheddar, and the marmalade. It’s shoved into a pretzel bun and served in halves.

Man, oh man. Everything blended perfectly. The pretzel bun is fluffy and just salty enough. The arugula and bacon supplied crunch while the tomatoes brought a subtle acidity. And the cheese didn’t drip, but instead poured into the crevices of this sandwich, mixing with the sweet, lightly tart marmalade.

I’m from arguably America’s biggest sandwich city, a place where the act of ordering has undone political candidates. This Rhôtey Rotisserie bacon cheddar stands up to just about anything Philadelphia has to offer.

So how did we get here? About 10 years ago, Vincent Taylor, the 28-year-old owner of Rhôtey, was studying abroad in Paris. He was determined to lose the weight he gained due to a macroprolactinoma—a tumor of the pituitary gland that raised his prolactin levels to three times the amount of a pregnant woman—and was running regularly. One day while running he caught a tempting scent.

“I ran toward it, and it was a farmers’ market where they were roasting whole chickens,” said Taylor. Passionate about cooking, Taylor started thinking about ways to bring rotisserie to Houston, settling on sandwiches because he eyed a hands-on experience.

It still took some time before he pushed his chips to the center of the table. Opening Rhôtey was a three-year process, as Taylor waited for loan approval, bought his equipment, and scouted spots both inside and outside the Loop. But with the wait over, the plaudits are coming fast and furious. Taylor is happy about it.

“If someone’s actually going to take the time, especially in Houston, to come down and get a meal, I want it to be something that they enjoy and tastes good,” he said. “Not something where they get a product and ‘Here’s your 30-minute break.’”

Take 45 minutes. Make the drive to Rhôtey Rotisserie. You won’t regret it.

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