Sushi and more: What's trending on Houston's food scene?_

Shun Japanese Kitchen. | Photo: Naoki Y./Yelp
Shun Japanese Kitchen. | Photo: Naoki Y./Yelp

Curious where Houston's in-the-know crowd is eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to analyze which restaurants have been getting a notable increase in attention 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 extra cool this spring.

Shun Japanese Kitchen

Photo: shun japanese kitchen/Yelp

Open since October, this well-established sushi bar, which offers Japanese curry and more, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Sushi Bars" on Yelp.

Citywide, sushi bars saw a median 2.2 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Shun Japanese Kitchen saw a 49.5 percent increase, maintaining a sound 4.5-star rating throughout. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Shun Japanese Kitchen's review count increased by more than 510 percent.

It's not the only trending outlier in the sushi bar category: Pokeworks has seen a 76.9 percent increase in reviews.

Located at 2802 S. Shepherd Drive in Greenway, Shun Japanese Kitchen offers sushi and a variety of seafood platters. 

Big City Wings

Photo: big city wings/Yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Kingwood Area's Big City Wings, the sports bar and New American spot, which offers chicken wings and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp saw a median 3.5 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, Big City Wings bagged a 47.8 percent increase in new reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a mixed three-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 5.5 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.

There's more that's trending on Houston's New American scene: Jus Grill has seen a 50 percent increase in reviews, and The Union Kitchen and B.B. Lemon have seen 9.9 and 16.1 percent increases, respectively.

Open at 1522 Kingwood Drive since January, Big City Wings offers a wide variety of menu options, including starters, salads, sides, wings, burgers, sandwiches and entrees. 

Café Bustelo

Photo: daniel n./Yelp

Neartown - Montrose's Café Bustelo is also making waves. Open since March at 3615 Montrose Blvd., the pop-up restaurant, which offers coffee and tea and more, has seen a significant 160 percent bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 4.1 percent for all businesses tagged "Coffee & Tea" on Yelp.

There's more than one hotspot trending in Houston's coffee and tea category: Slowpokes has seen an 81.2 percent increase in reviews, and BLKdog Coffee has seen a 11.8 percent bump.

Café Bustelo offers a variety of caffeinated beverages. Over the past month, it's seen its Yelp rating improve from three stars to 3.5 stars.

Tamales Don Pepe

Photo: jojabee 3./Yelp

Willow Meadows' Tamales Don Pepe is the city's buzziest Mexican spot by the numbers.

The Mexican spot, which opened at 3816 Link Valley on May 2018, increased its new review count by 12.4 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 3.4 percent for the Yelp category "Mexican." It outperformed the previous month by gaining 4.0 times more reviews than expected based on past performance.

Tamales Don Pepe offers breakfast fare like the scramble eggs platter with chorizo, ham, potatoes and bacon, as well as other Mexican fares such as quesadillas, tacos, empanadas and enchiladas. 

Shake Shack

Photo: aryani n./Yelp

Open since December 2018, this spot to score burgers, ice cream and frozen yogurt and hot dogs is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Burgers" on Yelp.

Citywide, businesses tagged "Burgers" saw a median 5.2 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Shake Shack saw a 24.4 percent increase, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating throughout.

Located at 1002 Westheimer Road in Neartown - Montrose, Shake Shack offers burgers, hot dogs and fries. 

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.