A New Favorite Dining Option at IAH: Yume Asian Kitchen

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Not all airport experiences are created equally, and one thing that can dramatically influence the pre-flight experience is the quality and variety of food in the terminal. Some days a couple of Happy Meals is the perfect airport dining solution, but other days, I want something better and maybe a bit healthier. In these days of TSA PreCheck, I rarely get to the airport with tons of time to kill, so these tasty but healthy theoretical dining options need to not require a significant time investment.

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This better-than-average yet still convenient food concept is where the OTG airport dining experience comes into play. If you have flown much in the last few years I’m sure you have noticed the rows and rows of iPads popping up at airport bars and restaurants all throughout the terminals. They get mixed reviews and may look a little off-putting at first, but I think they are extremely easy to use to order food and drinks. My kids have been known to play a game or two on these iPads, too.

I’ve been looking forward to some of the new OTG dining options opening in Houston’s IAH Terminal E for what seems like forever. Just before today’s flight out of Houston, I was more excited than is probably normal to see that the Yume Asian Kitchen near the Terminal E food court was open for business. I’m a sucker for almost any type of Asian cuisine, so I didn’t care what they were serving, I was ordering.

To order, you can walk up to the counter or simply have a seat at one of the tables equipped with an OTG iPad. From there, you can check out the menu and then order whatever you like right from the touch screens.

You can include the tip, decide if you want to eat in or carry-out, and the pay with a credit card or your United miles. Paying with miles sounds tempting, but just be aware that the value you get for your miles if you redeem them in this manner is poor at less than one cent per mile.

I didn’t have very much time before the flight, so I ordered a tuna avocado rice bowl to go while I did a little work and enjoyed an ice water at the bar. The OTG experience is a great way to not waste any time while waiting for your food since you can work, and even charge your devices right from the table.

Today’s order took a little longer to prepare than I expected given that they were not at all busy around 3PM, but within 15 – 20 minutes I had my to-go bowl of rice, avocado, and tuna packed up and ready to fly. This was not a cheap meal at $15 before tax or tip, but I can guarantee it tasted better than anything United would be able to offer me in the air. In terms of service, I didn’t require much with a to-go order and a cup of water, but it wasn’t anything to complain or get excited about.

In addition to the Tuna Avocado bowl, some other Yume menu highlights are:

  • Fried Miso Shishito Peppers $7.50
  • Tuna Tataki $16.75
  • Miso Ramen $12
  • Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl $14
  • Vegetable Fried Rice $11
  • Sushi Platter (10 pieces) $24
  • Snow Crab Roll $12
  • Yellowtail Roll $10
  • Shrimp & Pork Dumplings $8

I haven’t yet eaten my way around their menu, but I fully plan on doing so over time since they have something available for every member of my family. While it has never happened to me, rumor has it that those with a co-branded United credit card are occasionally ‘randomly’ surprised with a $0 check on some OTG orders as a way of thanking them for being a card member. That would certainly be a welcome treat one day since feeding a family at those prices will add up. It is worth mentioning that there was not a 20% discount for being a United credit cardholder the way I have enjoyed a few times at OTG restaurants in Newark in the past.

Because of their menu, location, and convenience factor, Yume, might be my favorite new IAH restaurant. You can check out other OTG restaurants that are now available at IAH here. Otherwise, my IAH Terminal E dining favorites and recommendations are Pappasito’s for some decent and kid-friendly Tex-Mex or Pappaedeux if you are on an expense account and have time for a sit-down meal.

Yume didn’t offer the best food or service I have ever eaten, but it did strike the right balance of taste, menu, and pre-flight convenience.

 

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Comments

  1. Agree that the food is not the best food, gyoza definitely reheated from a frozen pack and fish was not the best quality…but I had an appalling experience discovering sauces on two plates that don’t belong to my food. They have a fish cleaning problem and they know it….covered it up with lettuce leaf instead of giving it a rinse.

    Pass

    • Bummer! Thankful my experience wasn’t quite like yours, but hope as they get some more time under their belts some process issues will improve for sure!

  2. In Japanese, Yume (pronounced yu’-meh) means dream. I wonder if they’re going for a dreamy dining experience?

    I’ll have 3.5 hours to kill at IAH in late-June, as our hybrid road trip (Boston to Fort Worth to LA) was cancelled due to my mom’s health. (She’s doing better now.) Instead of driving back to LA, I’m flying and meeting my son at DFW, his first solo flight, flying in from LAX. My BOS to DFW leg has a long IAH layover. I may have to try out Yume.

    I still don’t know if I’ll try the Fort Worth aloft and their new breakfast menu. I’ll let you know if we wind up there.

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