Hangin' with Mr. and Ms. Cooper

Like the fare, Neal's California-dominated wine list is characteristically refined in taste, and reserved in price. We chose an eighteen-dollar Riesling from Bonny Doon, going for the gimmick A as the bottle empties, the back side of the label produces a sunset effect. Those who have seen enough sunsets might consider ordering what Neal calls "the Dom Perignon of beer," a sixteen-ounce ceramic crock of Germany's Fiedlers Pils. The restaurant is also one of a very few in the area to offer micro-brews. These include Sierra Nevada and Turbo Dog from Louisiana.

Despite the fact that we only ordered one piece of cake, dessert proved a lavish affair. The chef's signature "Almond Roca chocolate surprise" was an upright triangle construction comprising Almond Roca chocolate mousse, black-and-white pound cake, and a bittersweet chocolate glaze. The "surprise" is a big Roca crunch buried deep in the mousse.

A raspberry coulis and and a kiwi sauce added tart fruitiness, and 24-karat gold dust sparkled on the chocolate shell. The luxurious garnish was apropos for a restaurant that's likely to be a gold mine.

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