Fa­vorite lunch spots

GA Voice - - Arts Reviews -

This is a catch-up week—blurbs of some re­cent meals with friends at three fa­vorite restau­rants. All are in the mid­dle price range, at least at lunchtime.

Hi­malayan Spice:

This restau­rant is unique in At­lanta be­cause it serves the cui­sine of Nepal, as well as that of north­ern In­dia, which it bor­ders. The Nepali menu is short com­pared to the In­dian one, and con­sists en­tirely of small plates. Prob­a­bly the best-known tra­di­tional dish is the “momo”—dumplings stuffed with veg­eta­bles or chicken (the more fla­vor­ful choice) and served with a toma­toey, spicy sauce. The choila, which draws raves, fea­tures pieces of chicken or lamb marinated in mys­te­ri­ous spices and com­bined with onions, gin­ger, gar­lic and cilantro. Share with your date or no kiss­ing af­ter­ward.

In­dian stand­outs in­clude the Chicken 65, sautéed with curry leaves, mus­tard seeds and chili pep­pers, gar­nished with co­conut pow­der. This is a very mild ver­sion of a tra­di­tion­ally spicy-hot dish. Be warned that if you ask for your food to be hot, it will be near blis­ter­ing. I asked for my biryani—rice cooked with lamb, chicken and veg­eta­bles—that way. I also or­dered some naan topped with hot chili paste and cilantro. My tongue sur­vived but was ren­dered numb enough to make speech dif­fi­cult.

(2773 Clair­mont Road, 404-549-7602, www.hi­malayan­spiceat­lanta.com)

ing: the place is in great need of re­mod­el­ing. I wouldn’t call it dirty, but the floors and walls are scuffed and scratched. So this isn’t a place to im­press your fi­ancé the in­te­rior designer, ei­ther.

(4337 Bu­ford High­way, 404-329-1610, www.craw­fishshack­seafood.com)

So, you worked out at the LA Fit­ness at Ans­ley Mall just be­fore lunch. Why walk to Pan­era for a salad when you can trek the short dis­tance to this nearby French bistro and re­gain the quar­ter-pound you lost on the tread­mill? The restau­rant, quite pricy at night, of­fers a two-course lunch menu for $15. I go for the “pe­tite char­cu­terie” starter; its serv­ing of cured meats is not pe­tite at all. For my en­trée, I or­der the croque mon­sieur, the clas­sic sand­wich of ham and melted Swiss cheese. There’s also a daily omelet. You have the op­tion of skip­ping a starter and order­ing a dessert of ice cream or sor­bet in­stead. The clien­tele here are older and a bit for­mal. You prob­a­bly want to change out of your gym shorts and ripped T-shirt be­fore go­ing.

(1620 Pied­mont Ave., 678-702-1620, www.at­mo­sphere­bistro.com)

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