I’ve been going to Joel for a while. I remember bumping into highly-acclaimed Chef Joel Antunes in 2003 when he was having a cooking demo at the grand opening of (gasp) Bloomies at Lenox. I was drawn not by his ability to produce such flavorful morsels of food given the two-burner stove he was laboring over with, but by his soft, accommodating demeanor. A true French artiste at heart, his attention to detail is remarkable.
The former head and star of the Ritz Carlton Buckhead’s The Dining Room built his 5-million dollar brasserie with a dream kitchen that’s quite out of this world (just imagine a 62-foot stove). From the moment you step in, you’ll be wowed by the contemporary decor. That includes the ultra-spacious hip bar and the uber-stylish ladies bathroom.
I’ve been to Joel many, many times and I have yet to be disappointed. Both with the food and the service. I love the way Chef Joel incorporates Asian ingredients with his French cuisine — an influence from his life in Asia some time ago. Every item on the menu is well-thought of: from the balance of flavors to the textures and taste.
For a truly good deal, go for the three-course $49 Chef’s Weekly Menu (used to be $39) available during the week or the Spa Menu for $25 guaranteed served in 35 minutes or less. It’s a five-star food from a five-star chef in a five-star place with a five-star service but not a five-star price.
The entrees, on their own, are quite satisfying (especially after the bread and starters) so I’d forego ordering any additional sides unless you’re really feeling ravenous.
Check-out the ladies bathroom — it rocks!
The extensive wine selection can be daunting so ask for the Sommelier’s recommendation. And stop-by The Market where you can purchase wine served at the restaurant (unfortunately, it’s only open until 5:30pm but you can definitely pop in after your lunch).
3290 Northside Parkway at the Piazza at Paces in the Forum Building
Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30PM – 10:00PM
Friday-Saturday 5:30PM – 10:30PM
Lunch: Tuesday-Friday 11:30AM – 2:00PM