As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, bloggers and readers. Earlier today, we asked for the city's best neighborhood for dining and each person's best meal of 2012. Now we want to know what this year's biggest surprise was. Readers, please add your thoughts in the comments.
Nabi's closure surprised a few people [Gary R Wise]
Amber Ambrose, former Eater Houston editor, freelance food writer: Stumbling upon Golden Dim Sum in Chinatown. We ended up there after finding out the wait at neighboring Sushi Miyagi would be well over an hour. Ended up having an epic meal for my dad's 60th birthday that will never be forgotten. Mostly because we over ordered and had an astounding amount of food, but also because it was delicious and different and our servers never made fun of us for being ignorant in the ways of dim sum.
Tyler Horne, Urban Harvest Market Manager: Nabi closing up shop was a bummer because I really enjoyed Ji Kang's cooking.
Joshua Justice, Eating Our Words contributor: Nabi closing right after it started to fire on all cylinders.
Danny Vara, Southbound Food co-host: To me it's the sheer number of new restaurants and food trucks that opened up. Not just that they opened, but the quality seemingly from day one and the support they've received.
Katherine Whaley, KHOU Anchor and reporter: The announcement that Feast is closing. The announcement that most Rice Epicurean locations are closing. I am stockpiling pimento cheese and killer brownies as we speak.
Teresa Byrne-Dodge, My Table magazine publisher: The announcement that Feast will close next year.
Albert Nurick, H-Town Chow Down: Oxheart shows that veggies can take center stage in Houston.
Sarah Tressler, freelance writer and writing instructor: Oxheart opens at practically the same time Bon Appetit lists it as one of the best new restaurants in America. And Samba bit the dust. So sad.
Rachel Brill, Eater Houston contributor: I like octopus.
Lauren Barrash, founder and president of The Wave: Triniti food, wine & music pairing
Zerin Dube, Speed:Sport:Life editor: The Breakfast Klub. Hole-in-the-wall dining but a wonderful meal.
Gary R Wise, Eater Houston photographer: Demise of Samba Grille
Phaedra Cook, My Table magazine contributor: That Nabi and Samba Grille didn't survive. I still miss Nabi's sautéed chili edamame and Samba Grille had such a great staff... good-hearted people, great food and an elegant atmosphere. Samba Grille was the very first restaurant I ever wrote about, so that closing felt very personal for me.
Steph Stradley, Texans blogger: Underbelly. Definitely needed help ordering because odd and wonderful. Certainly surprising. Loved their wine list.
Misha Govshteyn, food enthusiast: Restaurant community in Houston is stronger than any other US city. Food writers could learn a thing or two from our chefs when it comes to supporting each other and doing their part to promote a vibrant food culture in Houston.
Taylor Byrne-Dodge, My Table Sidedish editor: So many new French spots popping up all of a sudden -- Artisans, L'Olivier, Etoile (&newish Philippe).
Eric Sandler, Eater Houston editor: Liking three restaurants I thought were going to be pretentious (Philippe, Artisans and the Triniti/Mercury dinner). A good reminder to be open-minded.