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Mar 28, 2007 04:55 PM

Tarbell's - still one of the best!

As I'd mentioned in a prior post, I'm disappointed that Tarbell's doesn't receive many mentions. We vacation in AZ every year for Spring Training, and had been to Tarbells a couple times. Being from out of the area, we decided the last couple years to give some new places a go (Roaring Fork, Zinc Bistro). I am so happy we decided to go with the tried-and-true this year. Tarbells is consistently outstanding. We were 2 couples, each having something different. Everyone raved and agreed it was the best meal they'd had in a long time. I had scallops, others had scotch beef, fish special, and a lamb-pasta dish. Everything was perfect, and the waitstaff was great. Honestly, if I only ate here when visiting, that would be okay with me!

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  1. I couldn't agree more. I've been eating at Tarbell's since it opened over a decade ago, and it has never disappointed me. I'm not quite sure why it doesn't generate a lot of buzz. It may be simply that it has been around a while, or it may be that the menu is relatively straightforward (although consistently excellent).

    5 Replies
    1. re: silverbear

      I agree on Tarbell's even though I've only eaten there a couple of times. The food and service were very good, although one one occasion I thought the entrees were sized on the small side, but then I'm a big eater. I lamented the demise of Barmouche, which I thought was an excellent complement to Tarbell's.

      1. re: misohungrychewlow

        I agree re: Tarbell's.

        I think that he has been so adept at becoming a local media darling, and Tarbell's has been open so long and has been so consistent over time that the lack of newness (good or bad) just doesn't generate much to talk about. Sort of like Cowboy Ciao in my opinion.

        I will say that every time I have been there (starting years ago when an ex-bf of mine was the assistant GM) through just a few months ago, it has been great. Pizza and a martini at the bar? Great. Full dinner with wine for my birthday? Great.

        1. re: HomeCookKirsten

          Mark Tarbell was on an episode of Iron Chef not too long ago. I haven't seen it yet.

          1. re: HomeCookKirsten

            Yes, good call. Sometimes we tend to forget the "tried-n-true" spots. The only rub that I have ever had with Tarbell's, is that it can get a bit noisy. We tried some dinners in their semi-separate dining room, but the din from the main restaurant was a bit too much for business. That said, the food and the wine have always been great, and Mark Tarbell has been a great booster for the Valley, both at the stove, and beyond. Same for CC. I love the food, the wine, the service, but hate the noise. Every time we dine there, we get the "quiet" table, the on with the tiny walls around it. Perer always inquires, "other than the noise, how were things?" Two of my favs. for food, for wine, and I'll just overlook the sounds, so long as I am not trying to conduct business.


          2. re: misohungrychewlow

            I miss Barmouche, too. It was a great late night option. Fortunately, the mac-and-cheese from Barmouche, one of my favorite items there, has been tranplanted on to the Tarbell's menu.

        2. Mark Tarbel makes the most amazing blue cheese dressing!! Actually, i've lo ved all of the meals I've had there.

          1. I'm going for the first time. Any particular recs?

            3 Replies
            1. re: jasmurph

              The menu changes fairly often to reflect seasonal ingredients, but some things like Mark's mom's mac-and-cheese and the spaghetti-and-meatballs are perennials. Whenever Tarbell's serves an all-American classic, it's always reinterpreted a bit with fresh ingredients and artisanal touches. The servers are always quite knowledgable and can usually give some good recommendations.

              1. re: jasmurph

                I have always been a big fan of his "pepper steak." I've yet to have one that was not excellent.


                1. re: jasmurph

                  I don't know that it's always available or if it's still on the menu, but he does a salmon dish that is served over wilted spinach and a crisp potato cake of some kind that is amazing...

                  The pizzas with a salad is a good choice too to share and it's fairly light. The mac and cheese is GREAT.