Chef’s Summer Recipes: John Villa’s Lo Mein Salad Recipe

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Chef John Villa heads the kitchen at Tao, one of NYC’s hottest restaurants (I love the giant Budha there. It is an awesome sight). He began his career at the age of 19 at the Culinary Institute of America and then honed his skills at Le Cirque and Tropical. He earned two stars from the New York Times at the Judson Grill. He went on to reinvent the Central Park Boathouse and earned another two stars from the Times. He then earned three NYT stars for his own restaurant, Pico. Now, he is at Tao, where he specializes in Pan-Asian cuisine. We asked Chef Villa for a recipe that he felt personified Summer. I think you will all enjoy his Lo Mein Vegetable Salad.

Lo Mein Vegetable Salad
Serves 4


  • 8 ounces Lo mein noodles, cooked and chilled
  • 2 Tablespoons Yuzu soy vinaigrette
  • 2 Tablespoons Chile garlic sauce
  • 1 each Lime, juiced
  • 1 each Red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced in thin strips
  • 1 each Carrot, peeled and sliced in thin strips
  • 1 each Endive, red or yellow, leaves picked and sliced thin
  • ½ cup Snow peas, cleaned and sliced in thin strips
  • 1 cup Bean sprouts
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame seeds, toasted
  • Pinch of Togarashi pepper

Yuzu Soy Vinaigrette (makes one quart)

  • ½ cup Yuzu juice
  • ½ cup Light soy sauce
  • ½ cup Water
  • 1 teaspoon Yuzu zest, dried (or substitute zest of one fresh lemon)
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Olive oil
  • ½ cup Peanut oil
  • ½ cup Mustard oil


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender except water and oils, blend on medium speed to combine, and slowly drizzle in oils until dressing is emulsified, add water little by little as necessary to reach the correct thickness.
  2. Keep chilled until ready to use.
  3. Blend again as needed before use if separated.

Chile Garlic Sauce (makes one quart)


  • 3 cups White distilled vinegar
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fish sauce
  • 2 ½ ounces Sambal oelek chile sauce
  • 1 ounce Cilantro, chopped fine


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly until sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Finished Salad:

  1. Divide greens evenly on the bottom of four salad bowls.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine noodles and vegetables and gently toss together, add yuzu soy vinaigrette, chile garlic sauce, and lime juice and toss together until salad is well mixed.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  4. Evenly distribute the salad on top of the greens in each bowl, making sure each serving gets an even share of noodles and vegetables. Garnish salad with sesame seeds and a pinch of togarashi pepper.

Tao is located at 42 East 58th Street, in New York City’s Upper East Side Neighborhood a few blocks from Central Park.

Hours of Operation

Mon – Wed: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Thu – Fri: 11:30 am – 2:00 am
Sat: 5:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sun: 5:00 pm – 1:00 am


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Blanca Valbuena
I am one of the co-founders of FriendsEAT. Obviously, I love to eat. Other passions include A Song of Ice and Fire, Shakespeare, Dostoyevski, and Aldous Huxley.
Blanca Valbuena
Blanca Valbuena

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