BEST PLACE TO BELLY UP TO THE BAR Phoenix 2007 - Tarbell's
There are plenty of fine tables around the dining room at Tarbell's, but we come here just for the fun of eating rock shrimp ceviche or Scotch beef sliders at the bar. It's a long, lovely swoop of glossy blond wood, the perfect vantage point for the bustling, open kitchen. Service at Tarbell's is friendly and attentive (our wine glass never goes empty when we're perched on one of the streamlined bar chairs), no doubt inspired by personable chef-owner Mark Tarbell's example. Sooner or later, we inevitably get a visit from him, and no, we're not all that special he makes everybody feel like a million bucks. Since Tarbell's appearance on The Food Network's Iron Chef America earlier this month, we're worried that we'll have a hard time getting in here, kind of like when Oprah turned the nation's attention to Pizzeria Bianco. But that's okay. While Tarbell basks in the attention, we're happy to stake out our rightful place at the bar.