Chris Cook found her calling when she was just 10 years old. Alongside her mother and six sisters she prepared a spread for a church fundraiser, and nearly everyone who tried their food pressed them to keep cooking. So Chris did. She cooked her way into the restaurant industry and opened up Soul Food Train with her sister LaVonda to showcase her scratch-made Southern recipes.
No corners are cut at Soul Food Train. Smoked turkey legs flavor the collard greens, five cheeses melt into the macaroni, and Sunday's specialty oxtails cook all day until the meat just falls off the bone. And to keep the recipes from becoming old-hat, Chris and Von switch things up on a regular basis, substituting fried okra with stuffed bell peppers and fried chicken with catfish. Everything is house-made daily using seasonally fresh ingredients to ensure each dish has the maximum amount of flavor possible without stuffing it full of Jelly Bellys.
Every dish of Lu on the House of Lu's menu of Lu comes from a family recipe perfected over decades and steeped in praise. Lunch features a moderately priced ($5.75¬–$8) cast of classics all served with egg-fried or steamed rice and a vegetable egg roll. Favorites include the sesame chicken, Mongolian beef, and the spicy Hunan chicken. Starting at 3 p.m., the dinner dragon uncoils from its raindrop until it fills the menu with the lengthy list of authentic dishes scrawled across its underbelly. Dinner dishes are mainly centered around beef, poultry, pork, vegetables, and seafood with a plethora of options falling under each category. Net an order of best-selling coconut shrimp ($15.95), peck at the fan-favorite sesame chicken ($10.50), or fulfill a veggie fix with an order of General Tso's tofu ($9.50) and chase it with a dessert of sesame balls ($0.25 each). There's also a kids' menu for grotesque, half-formed adults and finicky feasters.
Spicy traditional sauces and exotic ingredients such as yak meat accent the authentic dishes on the Tibetan menu at Shangrila Bistro. According to AccessAtlanta, Shangrila's owners fly the yak meat—which tastes "like beef but generally leaner"—directly from China, and they also use it for the yak's-milk butter needed to brew the Tibetan butter tea on their beverage menu. A separate Chinese menu stakes a competing claim on eaters' attention with inventive dishes such as hot and spicy tangerine beef and pineapple-seafood fried rice.
Creative Loafing Atlanta declared Chin Chin the city's best Chinese restaurant in 2012; that's a title the eatery has held for the better part of a decade thanks to the skill of the chefs there. Diners catch glimpses of those chefs chopping vegetables, braising tofu, and glazing breasts of duck through a large pane of glass that separates the kitchen from the dining room. Rice soup simmers, and dumplings open blossoms of steam near plates of pork ribs covered in honey like the world’s wealthiest bear.