1597, from L. Tantalus, from Gk. Tantalos, king of Phrygia, son of Zeus, punished in the afterlife (for an offense variously given) by being made to stand in a river up to his chin, under branches laden with fruit, all of which withdrew from his reach whenever he tried to eat or drink. His name perhaps means lit. "the Bearer" or "the Sufferer," by dissimilation from *tal-talos, a reduplication of PIE base *tel-, *tol- "to bear, carry, support" (see extol). His story was known to Chaucer (c.1369).
I've always had an affinity for this word. I think perhaps the adjective form (tanalizing) may be more commonly heard, but nonetheless, I like the verb form as well.
The restaurant tantalized the patrons with the dessert table by forcing them to walk past it first when they entered the building.