Tarbell’s Restaurant ~ Arizona Restaurant Week 2010
Tarbell’s Restaurant ~ Phoenix, Arizona – Tarbell’s restaurant was the third stop on our seven night tour of Arizona Restaurant Week 2010.
At the age of 18 Mark completed a culinary apprenticeship at the Sonesta Hotel in Amsterdam, Holland before studying in Paris at the l’Academie du Vin and earning a Grande Diplôme d’Etude Culinaire from Ecole du Cuisine La Varenne. After stagieres (apprenticeships) at Michelin one-star Michel Pasquet and Willy’s Wine Bar in Paris, Mark followed his earliest dream (to open a wine bar) by working as Sous Chef at Vintage Wine Bar and Restaurant in Cambridge MA. At the same time he taught courses on French wine at the International Wine School in Cambridge and at the University of New Hampshire. He also worked at Wildflower Bakery in Boston before moving to Utah and to the front of the house as a manager at the Deer Valley Resorts Café Mariposa. At 23, Mark moved to Arizona and The Boulders Resort in Carefree, where he was the youngest Food & Beverage Director of any Five Diamond property in the world.
Chef Tarbell has been recognized with multiple awards including a two-time induction to The Arizona Hall of Culinary Fame (as Chef and as Media Master) and being nominated for “Best Chef – Southwest” by the James Beard Foundation. He and his restaurants have earned more than 50 city and industry awards, including a “Best Restaurant” from Food and Wine magazine.
He has been the featured Chef seven times at the James Beard House in New York, and has frequently cooked on television, winning Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”
Wow! It appears as though we are in for a treat!
Further adding to the enjoyment of the evening, we brought along our friends Don and Susan Baltzer.
None of us had dined at Tarbell’s before and we were now ready to start our gastronomic journey.
We began our $29 Arizona Restaurant Week 2010 three-course meal with Tuscan Kale Salad (lemon, hemp seed, olive oil, golden raisins and Parmesan).
After my first bite, my taste buds were sending messages to my brain that this was uncharted territory, endorphins started flowing, and bingo….pure opiate enjoyment!
For our second course we savored Pan-Seared Halibut (olive-oil whipped potatoes and Tar’s Ratatouille of pearl onions, Shishito peppers, squash, eggplant & basil oil).
Let me just say, there’s something magical when a good piece of fish is prepared by the hands of a master. Say’s our friend Don Baltzer, “that was absolutely the best halibut ever!” We agree.
After enjoying our halibut, there was consensus around the table that Tarbell’s was not a place that one only comes to once.
In fact, as I studied the menu I found Mark’s Famous Spaghetti and Meatballs, Grilled Organic Irish Salmon, Tar’s Scotch Beef, The Earth’s Best Vegetable Plate, Cast Iron-Seared Pepper Steak, and a great many more dishes to get my salivation glands pumping with furry.
But, let’s get ourselves back to the present and enjoy our third course: Butterscotch Tart (caramelized pancetta).
We simply must give it up to the folks at Arizona Restaurant Week 2010 for introducing us to Mark Tarbell.
Tarbell’s restaurant was an excellent find and The Roaming Boomers greatly look forward to a return visit to plumb the depths of this man’s culinary mastery.