July 1, 2022



Katy’s Yelo changes menu after chef known for banh mi leaves

3 min read

Yelo, an acclaimed fast-casual spot in Katy dedicated to Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian food, is going through some changes following the departure of a key opening operator.

Chef Cuc Lam quietly exited the restaurant in November 2021, per a Yelo spokesperson, leaving business partner and Phat Eatery owner Alex Au-Yeung at the helm. Lam was credited for the excellent banh mi sandwiches she crafted at Yelo, one of which made Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook literally leap out of her chair.

“It was an amicable split,” said Lam, who is currently teaching cooking classes and working as a private chef. “I wish Alex and the new team all the luck!”

A couple of Yelo’s original staples are no longer on the menu, such as the Pho-Rench Dip banh mi, a take on the French dip with a pho beef broth served alongside; and the Char Siu Xiu Mai banh mi, made with Chinese barbecue-marinated pork meatballs, aioli, and pickled carrot and papaya.

“It was an honor to have Cuc on board and I know great things are in store for her in the future,” said Au-Yeung. “As for Yelo, we look forward to telling more of our story through the foods we love. We have added fun twists to new menu items beyond Vietnamese, including dumplings, handmade noodles, Chinese doughnuts and more, and will continue to do so.”

Beef noodle soup is a new menu item at Yelo in Katy.

Beef noodle soup is a new menu item at Yelo in Katy.

Kimberly Park

Yelo opened in March 2021 in Katy Asian Town, a partnership between Au-Yeung, who owns Malaysian restaurant Phat Eatery next door, and Lam, formerly of now-closed Singaporean joint Sing, which she also departed unexpectedly in 2019.

Following Lam’s exit, Yelo’s menu overhaul makes room for dishes with more of Au-Yeung’s stamp on them, taking inspiration from his childhood in Hong Kong, his time training in Cantonese kitchens and his years of working in Houston.

Highlights include a firecracker shrimp snack, which marinates Gulf shrimp in ginger and lime, then wraps them in a crispy wonton shell, served with sweet chile sauce. There are now five dumpling options on the menu, including pork and Chinese chives, and a dessert Nutella dumpling.

Chinese-style hand-pulled noodles have also made an appearance at Yelo. The staff uses the traditional technique of stretching dough into a 5- to 6-foot single loop to create the noodles, which are served with a 12-hour bone broth, braised beef shank, tomato and chile oil.

Youtiao, Chinese fried doughnuts, were introduced to Yelo's menu, including a cheese milk foam ube flavor.

Youtiao, Chinese fried doughnuts, were introduced to Yelo’s menu, including a cheese milk foam ube flavor.

Kimberly Park

For dessert, Au-Yeung has introduced Chinese fried doughnuts called youtiao, including creations like the KBP, which is topped with Malaysian coconut jam, pandan ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, toasted coconut and curry powder.

Four banh mis remain at Yelo: the cold cut combo, beef rendang, crispy tofu and grilled chicken or pork. Neither Lam nor Au-Yeung shared a reason for the split.

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