Chris Yeo is the owner and culinary director of Straits (800 West Sam Houston Pkwy. North, 713-365-9922), which just opened next door to the Hotel Sorella in City Centre. Yeo, a graduate of Singapore's Hotel and Catering School, opened the first in 1987. "The Hotel Sorella has a location in San Jose, where I have one of my restaurants. And since we share the energy there so well, they invited me to join them in Houston so that we can share the same energy here," says Yeo. "Houston is a very friendly city, is very welcoming and you have a great food scene here. We're doing Singapore cuisine with updated, modernized ingredients, but with elements of Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian as well."

The first thing that strikes you about Straits is the absolutely stunning decor and an extensive patio that invites people to stay awhile. There's a nice vibe going, and the staff and patrons seem to fit in perfectly. The food is markedly different from that of other Asian cuisines Houstonians may be familiar with, but it blends elements from many of them, like lemongrass, kaffir limes, coconut milk and yellow curry, to name a few. The menu is a vast array of exciting and exotic dishes, making it difficult to make a decision. Dish enjoyed the Straits risotto in a coconut curry sauce and the kopi short ribs, which had been glazed with espresso.

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