New York

In the know: What's heating up New York City's food scene at summer's end

Food trends often fluctuate in sync with the seasons, as well as due to media coverage, news events and simple word of mouth. In summer, for instance, barbecue joints and tiki bars may enjoy a sizable bump. So what's the final word on New York City's most happening hotspots over the past month?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which restaurants have been seeing especially high review volumes.

To find out who made the list, we looked at New York City 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.

Read on to see which spots are closing the summer out strong.


Photo: Lena J./Yelp

Perhaps taking advantage of summer's increase in fresh produce, this Middle Eastern fast-casual spot, open since May, is trending compared to other restaurants categorized as "salad" on Yelp. 

Citywide, salad places saw review counts increase by a median of 4.5 percent over the past month, but Dez saw a 60.6 percent increase, maintaining a healthy 4.5-star rating throughout, after a writeup in the New York Times on July 9.

Located at 227 Mulberry St. (between Spring and Prince streets) in Nolita, Dez offers dishes like beet hummus, shawarma burgers, and, naturally, a seeds and vegetable salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh dill, feta cheese and black sesame seeds.

Corner House BBQ

Photo: Joseph C./Yelp

Grant City's Corner House BBQ is also making waves. Open since April at 102 Lincoln Ave., the barbecue joint and cocktail bar has seen a 49.1 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.9 percent for all restaurants tagged "Barbeque" on Yelp. 

However, there's more than one hotspot trending in New York City's barbecue category: O2 Korean BBQ has seen a 27 percent increase in reviews, and Yoon Haeundae Galbi has seen a 26.8 percent bump.

Corner House BBQ offers a pork-focused Southern-style barbecue menu, with racks of ribs, hot links, and sides like mac and cheese and baked beans among the most popular dishes. Over the past month, it's maintained a positive four-star rating among Yelpers.

The Polynesian

Photo: James P./Yelp

Hell's Kitchen's grandiose, tiki-themed The Polynesian is the city's buzziest cocktail bar by the numbers. It's gotten plenty of free press from Eater NY, Gotham Magazine, Time Out New York, and others — including us — but the proof of its popularity is in the Yelp review pudding.

The tiki bar, which opened at 400 W. 42nd St. (between Dyer and Ninth avenues) in April, increased its review count by a whopping 81.1 percent over the past month, a clear outlier when compared to the median review increase of 4 percent for the Yelp category "Cocktail Bars."

The Polynesian offers cocktails like the Smokin' Sarong (a coconut tea-infused Scotch with cinnamon, chipotle honey and tropical juices) and the massive Exotica Bowl, a shareable rum-based drink served in a giant clam's shell.

Dynasty Dim Sum

Photo: Amy H./Yelp

Though it's been open since last November, Dynasty Dim Sum is trending compared to other restaurants categorized as "Dim Sum" on Yelp. While it's unclear what exactly is driving its recent spike in reviews, the menu has plenty of eye-catching specialty items like Hello Kitty-themed buns.

Across New York, dim sum eateries saw review counts increase by a median of 3.4 percent over the past month, but Dynasty jumped by 36.4 percent, maintaining a convincing four-star rating throughout. 

Located at 381 Third Ave. (between 27th and 28th streets) in Kips Bay, Dynasty Dim Sum offers a wide range of traditional Cantonese dim sum dishes, along with its own signature offerings, like soup dumplings with truffle oil and baked matcha roast pork buns.