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Crocker Park wine bar 87 West 2 pours on the style 

The name may be a tongue twister. But at Crocker Park's new 87 West 2 (287 Crocker Park Boulevard, 440-250-2334), the smart selection of food and drink seems poised to please. Open since late February, the Westlake wine bar and restaurant is the newest project for Scott Kuhn, Tom Lutz, and Erik Heatwole, who also own Chagrin Falls' Gamekeeper's Taverne and the original 87 West Wine Bar, among others.

Key among the stylish spot's attractions are a cozy fireplace, patio, and lounge-style seating. Then there's the Enomatic, a trendy, Italian-made wine-serving system that allows drinkers to dispense their own two-ounce pours via a prepaid debit card. With a capacity of 24 wines, the Enomatic is currently stocked with 16 reds and 8 whites, priced at $3 to $22.50 per pour. "It's a great way to taste an unfamiliar wine before committing to the whole bottle," Kuhn says. Plus, it's a chance for us budget-minded types to sample something like the legendary Opus One without cashing in the college funds.

To balance all that grapy goodness, check out chef Jonathan Guest's progressive-American menu, which features an all-day lineup of sweet and savory small plates, including assorted cheese samplers, the bison-short-rib-and-cheddar-melt sandwich ($12.50), lump crabmeat tacos ($9.50), and Ritz-crusted lamb loin ($15). And for dessert, there's chocolate fondue, zabaglione, and a crème brûlée trio. Also look for a long list of creative cocktails, imported and domestic beers, and specialty coffees and cappuccinos.

87 West 2 is open for lunch and dinner daily, beginning at 11 a.m. Starting in May with the patio's opening, Friday and Saturday night hours will extend until 2:30 a.m.

Eastern expansion: Well-seasoned restaurateur Ricardo Sandoval (Fat Cats, Lava Lounge) will soon make his East Side debut with Felice (12502 Larchmere Boulevard), a casual neighborhood restaurant owned by Margaret Mueller. Situated inside a renovated 1920s home, the 50-seat restaurant should open for dinner by mid-April, with what Sandoval calls a moderately priced "American eclectic" menu. Lunch and weekend brunch hours will soon follow.

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More by Elaine T. Cicora

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