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Feb 14, 2009 02:27 PM

Yellow Brick Cafe - Cambodian, Berkeley

This is the (former All Star) doughnut shop at 1255 University with the "Cambodian BBQ" sign. Contrary to the sign, they have BBQ and other items such as banh mi, rice plates, and spring rolls seven days a week from 11am-4pm.

The BBQ plates are under $7. Choice of Harris natural beef, Rocky chicken breast, or tofu. The beef and chicken were both juicy and delicious--the sambal marinade of galangal, lemongrass, chiles, garlic, kaffir lime juice, etc. helps keep it moist, I guess. Two skewers, good-sized portion, comes with Cambodian fried rice which includes brown and black rice, barley, and soybeans, topped with a fried egg; some sort of mild noodle dish; and simple sauteed spinach. Great value. The young Cambodian-American cook said she's hoping to add some other dishes.

On the American side of the menu, I noticed that they had Peerless fair trade coffee, apple pandowdy, and an Egg McMuffin clone with housemade sausage.

Great place. 647-3776.

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  1. The rice you describe is their 5-grain rice. The fried rice is very homestyle with bits of ham, egg and corn.

    1. Thanks for the report Robert. So often I have passed the place, intrigued, but thinking it was part-time Cambodian food being served out of a donut shop (formally a Taco Bell). I'll be sure to give it a try next time.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Civil Bear

        Well that is exactly what it is, a donut shop serving Cambodian food on the weekends. With the name change they are trying to morph into an Asian cafe/donut shot. The raised doughnuts are quite good.

        1. re: chocolatetartguy

          Not just the weekends, seven days a week. They really need to paint out "Sat.-Sun." on that sign.

      2. Glad to hear they are expanding hours beyond the weekend. Can't ever seem to make it on Sat-Sun. Anyone tried the banh mi?

        Previous Chow Digest article

        A yelper and a foodie, eh?

        Yellow Brick Cafe (Formerly All Star Donut
        )1255 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          The banh mi seemed overpriced compared with Vietnamese places, I think they said $5.50 or $6? They're made ahead, cold, sitting on the counter in plastic wrap (though they said they could heat them up). Not appealing compared with the made-to-order BBQ.

        2. Wow, it is a great place. They make some terrific meat on a stick. Today the sides were a very mild beef stew with disintegrated potatoes and a big hunk of carrot, and the kind of pickled carrot and daikon you get on a banh mi, only in slices rather than julienne and with some cabbage mixed in. They were out of the five-grain rice, very apologetic, and made up some fresh fried white rice. And Ben, the young Cambodian-American non-cook, went up on a ladder and painted out the "Saturday and Sunday" from the sign. Talaya, the cook, said if one called her ahead she could make any other kinds of special dishes one would like. They seem to have the right spirit--they just might make it, even this year.

          1. Just went for lunch today and, boy, I really like this place. Love the juxtaposition of the donuts and All-American giant breakfast sandwiches with the lovingly prepared Cambodian grilled meats. Had the BBQ combo plate for $7.95--don't know if they raised the price or because we got the combo with both the beef and the chicken skewers. Very, very tasty, with a nice char on the outside--like home-cooked, as someone else said. Seemed like everything was made to order.

            They've got some curries and other things on the menu now too. The "Cambodian pumpkin" listed on the specials board seemed interesting.

            Also bought a few donuts to go (most of the business coming in seemed to be for donuts). They've got a rotating lineup of special donuts, including a banana-cream donut and a maple bacon one. I tried the banana-cream ($2), which was quite good--they take a Long John donut with chocolate glaze, cut it open, and then slice up a banana and put it inside the donut along with whipped cream--kind of like a banana sandwich.

            The young woman who prepared my donut said that on the weekends they do donut burgers, which apparently is exactly what it sounds like: a grilled hamburger patty served inside a donut instead of a bun. Sounds like it could be either really disgusting or extraordinarily delicious. She was enthusiastic about them, though, so I'll have to give it a whirl! Everyone was really friendly here. I hope they do well, given that the shop is in kind of a weird location.

            I believe they've expanded their hours--when I called the other day, the person who answered said they were open until 6:00. Forgot to double-check when I was there today.

            8 Replies
            1. re: abstractpoet

              In the past they have had a raised doughnut with a curry ground meat filling. It was surprisingly good. Curry doughnuts are supposed to be popular in Japan.

              They often have a ginger chicken side in which the ginger is an ingredient and not just a condiment. There is tons of ginger. The dish is similar to the Thai ginger salad, only with more ginger. If you like ginger, this is the dish for you.

                1. re: Scrapironchef

                  Hey Scrap,
                  Call 1st. I have only seen them once.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                    They no longer have them, but might bring them back. Curses, foiled again!

              1. re: abstractpoet

                >>"...on the weekends they do donut burgers, which apparently is exactly what it sounds like: a grilled hamburger patty served inside a donut instead of a bun."

                And here I thought the Krispy Cream and In-n-Out Burger in Daily City would be the first to come up with that combo...

                1. re: Civil Bear

                  just for reference, here's a link to Paula Deen's version of the donut hamburger:

                2. re: abstractpoet

                  Thanks. I tried the maple bacon donut ... maple frosted Long John with two pieces of bacon on top

                  1. re: abstractpoet

                    Yep definately 6pm daily. They open at 5am. I was waiting for breakfast and copied down the menu boards. Here's the current menu excluding specials

                    Breakfast (5 am – 11 am)

                    Krong style – Yummy city omelet, pork patties, rice, coffee

                    Sraeh Jomkah – yummy country omelet, 2 fish patties (pahet), bobar (rice stew) with hot tea

                    Lunch (11 am – 6 pm)

                    BBQ combo plate $7.95
                    2 skewers,beef, chicken breast, vegan chicken marinated in house krung past with 2 sides fried egg, rice (multigrain, fried or steamed)

                    Skewer $2.75
                    Stuffed chicken wings $5.75
                    Baked glazed chicken wings stuffed with thin rice noodles and our house krung

                    Carpaccio cambogiana $7.95
                    Rich thinly sliced raw beef marinated in a savory sauce

                    Beef lok lak $7.95
                    Thin-sliced beef on a bed of lettuce with tomatoes onions and a garlic pepper sauce

                    Beef and mango curry $7.95
                    Slow cooked beef with mangos in a lemongrass coconut curry

                    Banh Chao crèpe $7.95
                    Pork, bean sprouts and Cambodian herbs in a tumeric crepe

                    Chaa Kreung (beef/chicken) $7.95
                    Stir-fried meat in kreung spices and veggies

                    Spicy ginger chicken $5.95
                    Chicken sautéed with strips of ginger and bell pepper

                    Rice rolls $5.95
                    Shrimp, lettuce Cambodian herbs rice noodles and egg wrapped in rice paper

                    Here was an interesting site that had lots of Cambodian recipes so some of the above can be looked up

                    My report about breakfast
                    Berkeley: Cambodian breakfast at Yellow Brick Cafe – phahet (egg fu yung-ish) and bobar (similar to congee