Tarbell's | East Phoenix | New American, Seafood, Pasta, Wine Bar | Restaurant
Jackie Mercandetti Photo


Mark Tarbell is one of those classic Phoenix chefs who has transcended his kitchen role and become something of a minor celebrity. That is partly due to his Iron Chef America appearance and his smiling persona on his former show, Arizona PBS's Plate & Pour, which followed Tarbell into kitchens and bars across the Valley. It's also due to the food at his still-great restaurant. Tarbell cooked in France and Amsterdam, giving him the kind of classical chops that are becoming increasingly rare among the younger generation of chefs. His menu is threaded with touches of 20th-century opulence, such as caviar and wine-braised escargot. What makes Tarbell's memorable, though, are the creative flavor combinations and non-French influences that Tarbell deftly incorporates. Smoked apple and pear jam sidekicks mozzarella. Scallop crudo is jolted with pomegranate consommé. Some of the heartier old-school dishes sing just as loudly, like a Scotch beef with plainly cooked vegetables and mashed potatoes. The wine game at Tarbell's is formidable, and the cocktail program has kept pace as the bar has been raised for mixed drinks across the Valley. Not all classic restaurants in Phoenix have aged gracefully. This one has — and learned some new tricks over time. Reservations are encouraged. Takeout and wine store orders can be placed on the website.