The sound of fire. The igniting exhalation before the steady breath of the flame sustains. The heat pulsing steadily outward from the steel grill—you feel it on your glowing face. But the chef looks cool. He’s a master, after all; a flat, metal spatula in one hand and an enormous, sharp knife in the other. Kani House’s teppanyaki tables are no strangers to the action of hibachi, where these chefs entertain their guests before plating seared steak and scallops alongside fresh, sautéed vegetables. The steady sushi masters may not share their compatriots’ outward exuberance, but their work is just as delicious. From behind their long bar, they assemble maki cylinders with tender cuts of fatty tuna and bright salmon, artfully arranging cuts of more than 50 specialty rolls in the shape of gentle caterpillars or fearsome members of the Japanese Diet. Bright bamboo panels and natural stone add to the vibrant ambiance, surrounding diners with dark-wood and nuanced accents that keep the focus on the beauty of excellent cuisine.
Amidst Bella’s 15,000 square feet of dance floors and VIP booths, a triad of marble, granite, and hardwood accents fills out the lounge’s two-story facility. Throughout the night, a sound system blasts house beats as lights dance to the rhythms of The Nutcracker Suite stuck in patrons’ heads. At the elevated VIP area, a private bar and bottle service keep drinks within reach at all times, and a rooftop patio offers an oasis from the party below with a separate sound system, LCD TVs, and fireplaces.
The snap of cracking shells echoes through the numerous dining rooms of Fisherman’s Bucket. Servers weave through cobblestone archways, bearing fried, steamed, or seasoned shellfish by the platter and bucket, along with po’ boys spilling forth oysters, gator, and catfish. Soft lights illuminate a faux shark head above the booths, tables, and barstools inside, and an outdoor patio stretches out beneath the sun, stars, and skywriters passive-aggressively correcting each others’ work.
Slow-grilled all-beef hot dogs, house-made condiments, and fresh baked buns abound at this hot-dog haven tucked into the North Hills Shopping Center. Top Dog's four-page menu exhibits the restaurant's enthusiasm for naturally-encased meats organized according to flavorful regions of America. Laud local fare by biting into the Georgia Dog ($4.95), a spicy jumbo red hot topped with chow chow, spicy chili, house-made pimento cheese, and cole slaw. Top Dog's southern-style onion rings with Cajun dipping sauce ($3.50) make palate pals with strangers' sausages, such as the NY Deli Dog wrapped in swiss, horseradish mustard, sauerkraut, and hot pastrami ($6.75), or the Cubs Dog topped with mustard, relish, onion, cucumber sport peppers, tomato, pickle, and celery salt ($3.75). Creative customers can cover up naked dogs ($2.65–$4.50) with bakery-style bolillo buns and their choice of more than 40 different toppings, sheltering them from confusion caused by lookalike links and the baton-snatching hands of passing relay racers.
Inspiration from Iran
The dishes at 1001 Nights Persian Cuisine are based on the family recipes that owners Ali Reza Morshed and Mohsen Roozi ate growing up in Iran. Friends since childhood, the two both landed careers in the restaurant business before deciding to open their own venture. With the flavors of home as their inspiration, their kitchen makes traditional specialties such as mizra ghasemi?smoked roasted eggplant mixed with garlic and tomatoes?and myriad kabobs skewered and charbroiled to perfection. The chefs use only halal-certified meats and fresh, local ingredients to prepare their traditional dishes, which also include ample vegetarian options.
Views of the Night Sky
The restaurant sprawls into three dining rooms?which seat a total of 350 people?elegantly appointed with white tablecloths and sheer white draperies. Above, a recessed dome is painted with a fresco of the night sky, and a chandelier hangs down from the center. The setting's floor-to-ceiling windows offer an even more realistic view into the evening air. Though the atmosphere here is typically elegant and serene, the mood is livelier on Friday and Saturday nights, which host Persian music performances.
When Tarik and Said moved from their native Morocco to Atlanta, homesickness was hard to cure. So to bring back a taste of home, Tarik learned how to cook the traditional recipes that best reminded him of his homeland. The recipes worked so well to curb homesickness that the duo decided to open Morocco Grill. There, the pair prepares dishes such as whole rotisserie chickens, lamb, and couscous. And Said can bring to bear his extensive experience, which has included serving feasts for the same number of people that Napoleon made bow to him at breakfast every morning: 1,200. The kitchen team spices their dishes with aromatic saffron, cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric to create flavorful dishes that best evoke a Moroccan marketplace. The scenery inside the restaurant further accentuates this aura, with mustard-colored walls surrounding colorful patterned carpets and the occasional belly dancer.