Destination-worthy banh mi have arrived in Katy. Yelo Banh Mi Artisans opened quietly last week, the restaurant announced.
Roughly a year in the making, Yelo unites Phat Eatery chef-owner Alex Au-Yeung with chef Cuc Lam. Originally conceived as a sit down concept, Yelo now offers a mostly to-go experience with just 12 seats inside and three outdoor tables. Despite the changes, Lam expresses optimism about the restaurant's potential.
“It’s a wonderful, happy brand that speaks for itself, and that takes a lot of the pressure off of me. When a brand is not centered around one person, you’re doing it right,” she said in a statement. “And, of course, you want the food to taste good and be consistent, but the part of it that we want to make sure we deliver consistently is customer service, making our guests feel comfortable and valued. As long as we can say we made that effort, we're happy.”
In restaurant form, Yelo offers both familiar sandwiches such as lemongrass chicken and crispy tofu that set themselves apart by using pickled carrot and mango in place of the traditional carrot and daikon, housemade pate and garlic aioli, and bread with the right combination of crunch and chew. Lam's original creations include sandwiches stuffed with Phat Eatery's signature beef rendang, the "Pho-Rench Dip" with pho vegetables and dipping sauce, and an innovative take on Vietnamese meatballs (xiu mai) that carry the flavors of Chinese BBQ.
“My heritage is Chinese and Vietnamese, and my mom has cooked this xiu mai for us my entire life,” Lam said. “No other Vietnamese places serve it this way, but it’s because in her version, she serves it with a Chinese barbecue marinade. It’s a dish close to my heart because it reminds me of my family.”
The menu also includes rice and vermicelli bowls that can be topped with different proteins, Vietnamese egg rolls, mango-papaya-shrimp spring rolls, and chili crab rangoons. Beverage options include specialty coffee drinks such as Vietnamese iced coffees and ube and pandan lattes as well as five juices.
Find Yelo in Katy Asian Town next to Phat Eatery (23119 Colonial Pkwy, Suite B-3); the restaurant opens for lunch and dinner daily beginning at 11 am.