If my neighbors cooked nearly as well as Nabers Music, Bar & Eats in Chandler, I can honestly say I’d invite myself over for dinner a lot more often… (And probably for lunch too!)
Located just a short drive from downtown Chandler off the I-10 at Ray Road, Nabers is a locally-owned gem that puts a surprisingly sophisticated twist on traditional bar-style food. With a flavorful menu that’s freshly-prepared and strong on presentation, Nabers is not only a great place to eat: They’ve mastered the art of atmosphere by offering live music and activities like couple’s dancing, trivia and corn hole, there’s something fun (and free) happening at Nabers every night of the week. This community-driven atmosphere sets Nabers apart from similar laid-back bar-style restaurants.
It’s apparent that Nabers not only cares about creating a laid-back community where family and friends can gather, they also care about detail. From the types of glasses used to serve water, to the contemporary white dinnerware, I found my Nabers dining experience to be full of subtle surprises that added to the atmosphere and enhanced my overall experience.
As my guest and I entered Nabers on a Thursday night, we were greeted by the music of Redneck Rockstars acoustic duo, and the smell of cold beer and delicious food. Upon being seated, Sabrina introduced herself as our waitress and took our initial drink orders. Although we only ordered water, what we received was far from what I had expected.
Past experiences in similar bar-style restaurant settings led me to believe my water would be served in a large, textured plastic, slightly beat-up commercial plastic cup emblazoned with the logo of a soft drink company. Much to my surprise, Sabrina returned with crystal clear, glass mason jars filled with ice-water and accented with a fresh (not dry) wedge of lemon.
Having worked food service for several years, I find that while flavor is key, it’s really the little details that can add to my overall experience. And simple as it may seem, that little glass jar told me it was going to be a great night!
After examining the extensive (and bountifully bacon-filled) menu, my guest and I each ordered an appetizer -- one from the sea, and one from the land. Feeling a little adventurous, I also decided to order one of Nabers’ signature cocktails - the Liberty Martini.
My Liberty Martini arrived - a bright, almost-glowing blue raspberry vodka martini with a red maraschino cherry on the bottom. It was crisp, sweet, cold and delightful.
Our Pulled Pork Potato Skins arrived, glistening with melted Tillamook cheddar cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, and slow roasted pork with Nabers’ signature Arizona gold BBQ sauce all nestled inside the skin of a hot baked potato. The potato skins were the perfect combination of crispy yet chewy - still with just the right amount of potato ‘meat’ left inside. Having been braised in cider and chipotles, the pork was sweet with a hint of spice. However, the Arizona Golden BBQ sauce is really what stole my heart - it was reminiscent of honey mustard and just gave the skins the perfect amount of spicy tang.
As the potato skins arrived, so too did the En Fuego Shrimp. Served on skewers that stuck out of a contemporary, arched white plate, the four tail-on shrimp had been marinated in a blend of habanero, honey and lime before being grilled. Much like the potato skins, the shrimp did not disappoint and were succulent, juicy and did I mention deceiving? Masked by the sweet honey lime glaze, it took a little while for the habanero to finally get my attention. While the shrimp are by no means too hot, they certainly do have some kick that had me reaching for my mason jar!
In the hopes of leaving enough room for dessert, we decided to balance something heavy with something light for our entrees. My guest chose “Mom! The Meatloaf!” (because he liked the movie reference) and I ordered The Not So Classic Wedge.
Much like our appetizers, the meatloaf did not disappoint with presentation. A nest-like swirl of fried onion straws balanced upon two large, perfectly domed scoops of mashed potatoes, with a mix of red, yellow and green grilled bell peppers. Also on the plate were two petite medallions of meatloaf made from ground beef, pork and veal, stuffed with four cheeses and wrapped in bacon. The potatoes were creamy and paired well with the salty, crisp onions. While the meatloaf had an unexpectedly strong flavor, I would welcome a slightly more generous portion. The entire plate was accented with small confetti-like pieces of red and green bell pepper garnish, which added to the overall presentation.
The Not So Classic Wedge offered a terrifically textural experience: A sweet grape tomato burst in my mouth as I took my first bite of the cool, crisp baby iceberg lettuce. Partly chopped into four sections, the lettuce had been presented on the plate with an artistic splash of Danish bleu cheese, bleu cheese dressing, pretzel croutons and ripe, red grape tomatoes. The combination of creamy, cool, crisp, crunchy and sweet made the salad the perfect complement to the meatloaf entree.
Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat any more food, Sabrina ever-so-slightly twisted our arms into ordering dessert. Quite determined that the Nabers Ooey Gooey Cookie would be just the way to end the night. And it was.
Out came Nabers Ooey Gooey Cookie a house made chocolate chunk cookie dough, baked to order in a small casserole dish, served with a hefty scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, tons of whipped cream and chocolate sauce drizzle. Think that sounds decadent? Oh, it was. In fact...It was ridiculous.
Before I even dipped my spoon in for a bite, I could see the ice cream and whipped cream melting in the space between where the cookie met the edge of the dish. It almost looked like a mini-volcano as the melted chocolate chunks and creamy textures combined with the heat from just coming out of the oven. As I sank my spoon through the soft ice cream and whip, it met the baked surface of the cookie and suddenly sank slower. Once breaking through the crisp, golden surface of the cookie, it sank further into the hot, par-baked dough. As I dug out my spoon and took my first bite, I was in heaven. A masterful marriage of hot, cold, crisp, soft, and truly ooey gooey, this dessert was perfection. (Thanks for the recommendation, Sabrina!)
Contact: Ph. 480-705-0288
Address: 825 N 54th St, Chandler AZ 85226