Ten Most Anticipated Restaurants Coming to Houston in 2014

We hope to see these places open soon.

9. Bycatch and invasive species at upscale restaurants

Local fishmonger and chef PJ Stoops has been selling bycatch to local restaurants for years, but we see this trend catching on in the rest of the country as well this year. Bycatch is an industry term for fish caught unintentionally when fishermen are trying to catch other specific species. But rather than throw back or throw out these fish, chefs are finding new ways to incorporate lesser-known species into their menus. The same goes for invasive species. What better way to keep our waters from being overrun with lionfish, Asian carp and the northern snakehead fish?

8. Heirloom vegetables

If these ribs from Killen's don't make you drool, you're not alive.
Courtesy of Killen's BBQ
If these ribs from Killen's don't make you drool, you're not alive.
We already miss you, Burger Guys...
Troy Fields
We already miss you, Burger Guys...

We all know that heirloom tomatoes are beautiful and delicious, but farmers are starting to cultivate much more than tomatoes. The designation "heirloom" refers to old cultivars that were grown prior to the industrialization of agriculture. When we started growing crops commercially, we picked just a few that had the qualities we were looking for, leaving some of the tastier and more unique plants to the family farms that have been keeping these heirloom varieties growing in spite of a lack of interest from the general population. Now people are growing more interested, though, in everything from heirloom corn and peas to okra and watermelon.

7. Breakfast for dinner

Yes, as long as there has been breakfast, there has been breakfast for dinner, but this year, we predict you'll see many more omelets, waffles and savory pancakes on menus after dark. When we eat breakfast foods for dinner, it feels like a special occasion, as if we're getting away with something we shouldn't necessarily be doing. Chicken and waffles and waffle buns for burgers are already growing in popularity, but I suspect it won't be long before pancakes stuffed with pork or shrimp and dinner-size omelets find their way to our tables.

6. Tea

Move over, coffee. This is tea's year! Houston is already home to a number of great teahouses, but many people are just starting to realize all that tea has to offer. Almost as much caffeine as coffee? Check. Unique flavor combinations? Check. Organic and exotic? Check and check. Look for more gourmet and artisan tea on menus this year, the emergence of upscale tea bars and tea replacing coffee (to an extent) as our morning beverage of choice.

5. Fancy cauliflower

Oxheart was way ahead of this trend, giving vegetables a prime place on menus and treating them with the care and respect most often reserved for a steak or pork chop. In New York, there's a restaurant serving a $30 "cauliflower steak," and that's probably just the beginning. We predict more upscale roasted cauliflower, foams, purées and hashes. And, of course, it's only a matter of time before cauliflower steaks make their way to Houston. We probably won't go for it (meat-lovers that we are), but go on, chefs. Hit us with your best shot.

4. Gourmet chicken wings

Much of the potential 2014 trends involve fast, inexpensive or undervalued food moving up in the culinary world to places of prominence on fancy menus. Goro & Gun has already created upscale chicken wings, and as we saw at this year's Wingtoberfest, Uchi and Underbelly are just as capable. Expect to see elegant (read: expensive) wings in unique sauces at some of the more fashionable restaurants around the country. Inevitably, of course, fast-food restaurants will follow suit with their takes on mala wings with blue cheese sauce or cilantro- and cashew-crusted drumsticks.

3. Sea vegetables

What's more healthful than kale, more abundant than spinach and more exotic than bok choy? Seaweed, of course, and kelp and sea lettuce and wakame. The ocean is a veritable cornucopia of healthful plants, fresh, crisp, nutritious and ready to eat. The Japanese have been eating various forms of seaweed for thousands of years, and sea plants have been written about by both the Vikings and the ancient Greeks. We're a little behind on this trend here in the United States, but someday soon we imagine more seaweed salads will be finding their way to our tables.

2. Biscuit buns

Yes, pretzel buns were delicious when made correctly by an artisan baker, but fast-food restaurants ruined that. Expect pretzel buns (already waning in popularity) to be replaced by biscuit buns on everything from hamburgers to BLTs to veggie sandwiches. Breakfast foods have long been sandwiched between two buttery biscuit halves, but these mounds of flaky dough will soon be enveloping lunch and dinner, too. Biscuits have weathered perversion by fast-food restaurants, and they're poised for a slightly more high-end comeback.

1. Classy versions of a boilermaker

If you don't know what a boilermaker is, go back to hipster school. Actually, the boilermaker, or "a shot and a beer," was popular long before hipsters decided it wasn't cool and was therefore cool. Here in America, a boilermaker is most often a shot of whiskey and a cheap beer like Budweiser, though the term refers to something different in England, where the combo was presumably invented and named in the 1920s. Hip bars are now endeavoring to class up the boilermaker, though, with craft beer and expensive shots. A shot of Fernet and a Saint Arnold Winter Stout, coming right up!

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help

But.......but.....but,but what about KRISPY KREME?"?!!!!!