First Taste

Mark Tarbell's The Tavern: The Biltmore 'Hood Gets Caviar, Lobster Rolls, and Lamb Burgers

When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Tarbell's The Tavern Location: 3213 E. Camelback Road Open: Over two weeks Eats: Upscale European/American Price: $20 to $25+ per person

To call Mark Tarbell's The Tavern a wine bar is not only insufficient, it's just plain wrong.

True, the restaurant is attached to the chef's The Wine Store (formerly Sportsman's Fine Wines) and offers an extensive wine list. But it's clear as soon as you crack open the menu that The Tavern is as much a place for a casual but satisfying dinner as it is a place to sip on Chardonnay.