My childhood memories of Southglenn are laced with meals from cheap chain restaurants, eaten in a mall that fell into disrepair after Park Meadows moved in down the street, attracting bigger crowds and better shops.
Finally, the old Southglenn mall was razed -- and a new Southglenn rose from the ashes. The Streets at SouthGlenn, which will celebrate its first anniversary next week, is a far cry from the stamping grounds of my youth: This glitzy development is home to luxury residences, boutique shops and restaurants of an upscale urban variety.
Two of those restaurants are owned by Mark Tarbell, a former Iron Chef America winner who opened The Oven Pizza e Vino five years ago in Belmar. He opened a second Oven at SouthGlenn, and then Tarbell's (originally known as Home), which serves up haute American cuisine.
Tarbell's fish tacos
Half of the offerings at Tarbell's are classic American staples like pot roast and macaroni and cheese, elevated by good ingredients and a kitchen that pays attention to detail. The other half of the menu comprises meditations on contemporary continental cuisine, fusing flavors of the East and West in dishes like fish tacos and ahi tuna on a bed of wasabi mashed potatoes.
The American Classic Five Napkin Burger
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But my favorite dish at Tarbell's is the American Classic Five Napkin Burger: hefty beef patties, melted American cheese, crisp pickles, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and tangy special sauce sandwiched between the two halves of a toasty challah bun. Tarbell says the burger, which was created by his executive chef, Matthew Fenton, haunts him; he eats four a week.
I had a similar -- if slightly more physical -- reaction to this burger. You can read all about it here tomorrow, when you can also see a slide show with more photos of Tarbell's.