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Best French

French restaurants come in many guises, from hard-working holes-in-the-wall serving simple delights to tile-floored brasseries to haute cuisine palaces with dozens of servers and hushed surroundings. JOEL falls in the latter category, though the food has a warmth that belies the splashy surroundings. Chef Joel Antunes is cooking with focus and maturity these days. His signature meat dishes like beef bordelaise are rich and sultry, and his Asian fillips -- like crab cake in curry cream -- are appropriately light-handed. Dessert will have you melting like the puddle of warm chocolate you're spooning up from your plate at lightening speed. P.S. -- love those waterfall faucets in the bathrooms.

3290 Northside Parkway, 404-233-3500. www.joelrestaurant.com

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