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Now Open: Mark Tarbell's The Tavern in Phoenix, Serving Oysters, Caviar, and Bikinis

It's been several months since chef and restaurateur Mark Tarbell opened The Wine Store in the former home of Sportsman's Fine Wines, on the southeast corner of Camelback Road and 32nd Street. When it debuted in November, we told you to look forward to the reopening of the in-house wine bar. Well, as of last week, the wait is over.

You'll find Tarbell's The Tavern in between The Wine Store and his namesake restaurant, Tarbell's. The new eatery is serving a lengthy menu that goes way beyond what you probably associate with wine bar-type food including bikinis, as in the toasted sandwiches from coastal Spain.

See also: Portland's Restaurant Now Closed; Owners to Open Oven + Vine in Midtown Phoenix

The Tavern offers diners a "Seafood Bar," with options like oysters, crab, lobster, mussels, and clams, as well as charcuterie boards (sourced from France, Germany, and Italy) and a selection of sharable plates, salads, and entrees. In addition to the expected wine bar fare like a market veggie plate, you'll find plenty of upscale and interesting dining options. Think Sterling Royal caviar ($125), Maine lobster roll ($26), lamb burger with mint aioli ($19), and bone marrow with corn crisp and Parmesan ($18).

And, of course, there are those bikinis, a sort of grilled cheese or croque monsieur by way of Catalonia, Spain. At Tarbell's The Tavern, you have your choice of four types, including ham and pickle, truffle oil and Manchego cheese, and jamón serrano, also with Manchego cheese. Each of the mini-sandwiches comes on toasted challah bread ($4).

In the alcohol department, The Tavern offers wine and beers on tap, including a list of wine cocktails like the blackberry port martini with Taylor Fino ruby port, muddled fresh blackberries, orange juice, and a zest of lemon. Wines on tap include a handful of California selections and Arizona's own Dos Cabezas Red ($9). Additional wines also are available by the glass, though the majority will have to be bought by the bottle.

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You also have the option to do a wine a cheese tasting with three wines and three cheeses for $33.

The beer list includes seven Arizona brews from breweries including Four Peaks, San Tan, and Lumberyard, in addition to international beers such as Hinano from Tahiti, Bohemia Mexican Lager, and Unibroue la Fin Du Monde from Quebec, Canada.

The Tavern 3205 East Camelback Road 602-955-7730 www.tarbellstavern.com 4 to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday

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