From the outside, the Select might be mistaken for belonging to that breed of run-of-the-mill, upscale restaurants endemic to big-box suburbia. Of course, the particular Sandy Springs big box that houses the Select is more impressive than most: a $229-million, mixed-use compound with shimmering glass, gurgling fountains, and actual, discernible architectural features. (In fact, the most generic thing about the development is its name: City Springs.) Located toward the back of City Springs, across from Nam Kitchen (of Kinjo brothers fame) and behind the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, the Select will quickly disabuse you of your preconceptions once you step inside. The space is all soaring glamour, a style people might describe as “Parisian” but reads more like modern America’s notion of what Paris should look like: velvet drapery, bentwood chairs, globe-light chandeliers, towering bookshelves flanking a marble statue. Yes, the menu includes ubiquitous-sounding dishes—beet salad with goat cheese, crab cake with grapefruit-yuzu butter, miso sea bass with bok choy and shiitake—but each dish gets a boost from the quality of both the presentation and technique. If this is the new suburbia, sign us up. 6405 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs, 770-637-2240
The newest addition to the Ford Fry empire (JCT Kitchen, the Optimist, Beetlecat, Superica, Marcel, no. 246, and so on), Little Rey is classic Fry: exceedingly stylish, largely delicious, somewhat original, a hair too pricey. And always packed. The specialty at this most casual of Fry joints is chicken al carbon, which is traditionally found not in reclaimed industrial spaces with rattan planters spewing foliage but over a charcoal pit in bare-bones, Mexican-roadside digs. Little Rey’s version—available as a half bird, whole bird, or two birds; in a $4.25 (eek!) taco; or chopped and laid over cilantro rice—is cooked over wood rather than charcoal and is respectably smoky, though the white meat can get a little parched. You’ll want to relieve it with a squirt of luscious red salsa. Among the sides, the esquites—a mix of creamed corn and hominy (along with spicy mayo, cilantro, lime, and cotija)—is pure comfort in a cup. Another cup of comfort: the spot-on soft-serve, with unexpected notes of pineapple and coconut. The wait likely will be crazy, but the counter-service ordering moves pretty quickly, as does the kitchen. We’d say you can beat the crowds by showing up at 8 a.m. for breakfast tacos (five varieties, including chorizo, steak, and mushroom, kale, and poblano)—but even at that hour, the masses often have descended. 1878 Piedmont Avenue, 770-796-0207
This Westside pizza joint is the first of two planned Atlanta outposts from the hip-hop–minded Nashville minichain, which gained initial attention by opening in historically black and underserved North Nashville. Atlanta is a logical next stop (Memphis and Chattanooga are next). But underserved the Westside is not; the chain’s mission might resonate more strongly in Adair Park, its second Atlanta location. The pies have cracker-thin crusts and names evoking vintage hip-hop (Rony, Roni, Rone! or Got 5 On It), and they’re made in front of you, assembly-line style, before being placed in a conveyor oven. What emerges on the other side is high on stoner-y fun if low on artisanal craft. Go for the Cee No Green, loaded with ground beef, pepperoni, sausage, and two styles of bacon—but if it’s a classic margherita you’re after, you’re better off at nearby Antico. 1016 Howell Mill Road, 404-458-3327
This article appears in our August 2019 issue.