It's a cinch to select the right wine at Cooper's Hawk. The menu is annotated with recommended pairings for every dish, and if you'd like to explore beyond those picks the servers will gladly guide you through a tasting tour of their three dozen varieties.

It's a cinch to select the right wine at Cooper's Hawk. The menu is annotated with recommended pairings for every dish, and if you'd like to explore beyond those picks the servers will gladly guide you through a tasting tour of their three dozen varieties.

Of course it helps that Cooper's Hawk is a winery as well as a restaurant; they make all their own vino in Illinois with grapes mostly sourced from the West Coast. A large wine shop greets diners at the entrance of the spacious Easton location, so you can even grab a couple bottles (or cases) to go.

Deciding on a dinner entree may not be as easy, however. The menu is massive-steaks, chicken, seafood, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, salads-with international influences that circle the globe and take lots of detours along the way. I asked the bartender to point me toward a hearty plate and he happily suggested the Short Rib Risotto ($21).

The beef is braised in red wine, of course. White wine comes through in the risotto, along with mushrooms, onions, creamy parmesan and the pungent richness of truffle oil. The dish is indulgent and comforting, rich and sweet, so I looked for sturdy drink pairings that would complement the short rib's big flavors.

Cocktail

Basil Hayden's Manhattan ($12)

Sweet with just a little spice (Basil Hayden's is made with more rye than most bourbons), the bold whiskey highlights the sweetness of the wine-braised beef.

Wine

Cooper's Hawk Shiraz ($7.50 glass/$26 bottle)

Dry and woody with a hint of dark berries, the recommended wine pairing bolsters the richness of the short rib and brings out the nutty flavors of the risotto.

Beer

Great Lakes Burning River draft ($5.50)

This Cleveland pale ale isn't gonna let a little risotto push it around. Like its hometown, it's bitter on the tongue with a firm hoppy bite that stands up to the beef.