Maria Selma has long been a favorite for me. This rather understated neighborhood restaurant is more authentically Mexican than most and has a kitchen that has seemingly improved in the past year or so. It does nearly everything fairly well, including tortas, which make for an especially good lunch. I raved about it recently on Serious Eats:
Like the restaurant itself, the tortas at decade-old Maria Selma in Houston fly under the radar. The torta section is one of over a dozen on the good-sized menu, and, more so, when the taste hits for one of these Mexican-style sandwiches a humble taqueria usually comes to mind rather than a more polished place like this.
But, the tortas are done very well here, like nearly everything else. The Al Pastor ($9.95) featuring a judicious amount of marinated pork, a few shreds of lettuce, slices of tomato, slivers of avocado, and bits of onion arrives in two halves, allowing for easier enjoyment; the pieces of pork and its associated sauce can be unruly sandwich participants. The big, light telara bun made in-house does admirable duty holding it together, though the bottom might get a touch soggy by the time you get to the second half. No matter, this is a very satisfying sandwich, and another reason to visit this very adept restaurant.
1617 Richmond (between Mandell and Dunlavy), 77006, (713) 528-4920