In the know: What's heating up Houston's food scene this month

Photo: Flower Child/Yelp

As fans of cronuts and cake pops can attest, food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending right this minute?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to analyze which restaurants have been getting outsized notice this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Houston businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increase their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.

Read on to see which spots are worth exploring, right now.

Flower Child



Photo: flower child/Yelp

Open since September, this New American and vegetarian spot, which offers salads and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp.

Citywide, New American spots saw review counts increase by a median of 2.8 percent over the past month, but Flower Child saw a 22.7 percent increase, maintaining a sound four-star rating throughout.

It's not the only trending outlier in the New American category: BCK Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures has seen a 10.7 percent increase in reviews.

Located at 1101 Uptown Park Blvd., Suite C-6, in Greater Uptown, this national chain offers healthy food options like soups, salads and organic vegetables, with many vegan options. Try the Mother Earth bowl, with ancient grains, sweet potato, portobello mushroom, avocado, cucumber, broccoli pesto, charred onion, leafy greens, red pepper miso vinaigrette and hemp seed. Chicken, steak, salmon or tofu can be added to any bowl or plate. (Here's the full menu.)

Vibrant



Photo: ty H./Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Montrose's Vibrant, the gluten-free, breakfast and brunch and traditional American spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 3.1 percent over the past month, Vibrant bagged a 21.7 percent increase in reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a strong four-star rating.

Open at 1931 Fairview St. since August, Vibrant is a gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free restaurant that makes its own breads, cheeses and milks in house.

Early birds can try the Breakfast Socco, with chickpea flour flatbread, arugula-hemp seed pesto, oven-roasted tomato, watermelon radish, avocado and fried pasture-raised eggs. Dinner diners may want to opt for the grass-fed, pasture-raised lamb meatballs, served with apple cider vinegar, pickled red onions, cucumber salad, pumpkin seed mint sauce and pine nut dukkah. (See the full menu here.)

Eunice



Photo: kayla n. /Yelp

Upper Kirby's Eunice is also making waves. Open since October at 3737 Buffalo Speedway, the Cajun/Creole spot has seen a 40.4 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 5.1 percent for all businesses tagged "Cajun/Creole" on Yelp.

Eunice offers seafood, burgers gumbo and greens. Over the past month, it's maintained a strong 4.5-star rating among Yelpers. On the menu, look for the Cajun duck poppers and the jumbo gulf shrimp, served with green onion sausage gravy and green chili grits. (Here's the entire menu.)

Blue Onyx Bistro



Photo: Katherine A./Yelp

Highland Village's Blue Onyx Bistro is the city's buzziest steakhouse by the numbers.

The steakhouse and sushi bar, which offers seafood and more and opened at 4720 Richmond Ave. last March, increased its review count by 9.9 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 1.9 percent for the Yelp category "Steakhouses."

It's not the only trending outlier in the steakhouse category: Doris Metropolitan has seen a 9.8 percent increase in reviews.

Blue Onyx Bistro offers seafood, steaks and sushi. From the main menu, try the Ocean Smoke House, a smoke infused snapper topped with a scallop and grilled shrimp, served with buerre blanc sauce and season vegetables. Or choose from more than 20 varieties of sushi rolls. (Take a look at the entire menu here.)
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