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Good Eats 

Our critics' guide to Atlanta restaurants

Page 3 of 8

Fat Matt's Rib Shack, 1811 Piedmont Ave., 404-607-1622. One of the most satisfying BBQ joints inside the perimeter, Fat Matt's has a collection of blues posters nearly worth the visit itself. The menu is short but full of mouth-watering choices, particularly the sandwich of chopped pork shoulder. Neophytes should know that the Barbecue Rib Sandwich is literally a small rack served on white bread for sopping up the juice. L, D $$

Little Bangkok, 2225 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-315-1530. Now it can be told: Some of the best Thai food in town is at this absurdly inexpensive hole in the wall. Pay close attention to evening specials like chicken with eggplant or spicy squid. Seasonings are fiery, portions are very large and ingredients always include a few surprises. The menu also features Chinese cuisine. $$

Roxx, 1824 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-892-4541. On one of Intown's hottest blocks is a sassy cross between Einstein's volcanic be-seen scene and some laid-back cruise bar with a dinerteria menu. The mostly male crowd (all ages and types) has learned that it's best to stick with the simplest grill items: tasty gourmet burgers with fries; black-bean chili served in a cup or over a dog; sauteed spinach; and iceberg lettuce salad with crumbled blue cheese. Service varies. Beers and wines are properly chilled. L, D $$

Woodfire Grill, 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-347-9055. Emphasizing locally grown, fresh seasonal ingredients, Chef Michael Tuohy's menu is a dream for a grazer. Select from inexpensive tapas-style dishes, moderately priced small plates, woodfire pizzas, entrees and platters for sharing. Service couldn't be better. D $$$

Decatur/Oakhurst
BaddaBing!, 906 W. College Ave., 404-373-4500. Super-spiffy take-out joint offers upscale sandwiches, sides and tasty entrees like the the pork loin with peach salsa and goat cheese for lunch, impromptu picnics, or quick dinner fixes, L, D $

Cafe Alsace, 121 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-373-5622. Three young French owners cook such traditional Alsatian dishes as a superb onion tart and an equally superb berry tart. In between are a trio of tender spaetzle dishes, beef Burgundy and a slew of salmon entrees, all served in a small, charming, colorful dining room. L, D $$

Hodge's BBQ, 2141 Candler Road, 404-289-1804. Offering home-style, working-class Southern cooking for a quarter century, this family style cafeteria is light on charm, big on value, convenient for takeout and friendly as a church supper. No smoking or credit cards. $

Los Loros, 1248 Clairmont Road, 404-633-3103. A popular college kid hangout near Emory the order by number Tex-Mex combos are present as well as out of the ordinary items like flaming fajitas and a hearty chicken soup.

Moti Mahal, 763-C DeKalb Industrial Way, 404-294-8989. In a grungy, out-of-the-way place, but inside is good service and great Indian with an Indo-Pak influence. The lunch buffet is a bargain. $

Noodle, 205 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-378-8622. Stylish, moderately priced noodle bar features appetizers, noodle bowls, soups, rice plates and entree salads, four or five of each, all more or less Chinese, Korean, Thai or Vietnamese in derivation and presentation. Oversize crockery, decent wine-and-beer list and touchy-feely industrial decor emphasize the distance Asian-American-style restaurants have traveled -- from mainland to mainstream. $$

Udipi Cafe, 1850 Lawrenceville Highway, 404-325-1933. Savory rice pilafs, spicy vegetable curries and spectacular stuffed crepes and pancakes are but four reasons to seek out the city's newest South Indian vegetarian outlet. Sophisticated carrot desserts, traditional beverages and crisp breads double the pleasure. Table service is a plus. L, D $$

Universal Joint, 906 Oakview Road, 404-373-6260. Funky former filling station serves up creative pub grub in a relaxed setting. Love their burgers, beer selection, patio and low-key attitude. L, D $$

Watershed, 406 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-378-4900. The combination restaurant, wine bar, package store, gift shop and takeout counter holds wonders aplenty. Offerings change daily. A slice of fish, a mound of creamed potatoes, a bowl of some unusual pasta may be heaven on toast points today, history tomorrow. Luckily the salads and sandwiches (beets, shrimp, roast pork) and desserts (pecan tart, apple cake, chocolate cake, macaroons) are fairly constant in both their excellence and availability. L, D $$$

East Atlanta
Burrito Art - East Atlanta, 1259 Glenwood Ave., 404-627-4433. Relatively inexpensive, artistic and imaginative burrito creations full of beans, rice, meat or tofu, and veggies. Sides of shredded red cabbage, multi-colored tortilla chips and a fortune cookie complete the pretty picture. L, D $

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