restaurants
Aurora Williamsburg
70 Grand Street
Brooklyn
718 388 5100

Aurora Williamsburg is to die for. Chef Adam Weisell may be American but he grew up in Italy and he's made the Brooklyn branch of this Italian spot, which features a garden and a lovely farmhouse- feel, possibly the best spot in the borough. Food is the star here, but the pairings, with Italian wines made using only Italian grape varietals, adds the extra something special. Start with the insalata di carciofi, done 'all Romana'. Paired with a properly crisp escarole leaf, here the artichokes are meaty and while nuts in salad can sometimes be extraneous, theirs really add the right sweet note. Have it with the white Favotita delle Langhe from Piemonte. Move on to the il polipo, their very tender slow grilled octopus salad (marinated in chili, paprika, rosemary and garlic) served on a vinaigrette-y fingerling potato and celery salad. A rosato from Puglia for that one. The restaurant marinates their own olives, makes their own bread and all their own pasta (except the durum spaghetti and rigatoni of course). So then move on to the fettuccine con Galletti (this has been a special but we're petitioning for it to be added to the regular menu). Matching beautifully with a Friulano from Venezia, every flavour in the al dente pasta is allowed to stand alone, with chanterelles and cherry tomatoes. (If it's not avail, opt for the tagliatelle done with Meyer lemons, basil, and crushed almonds.) We had the grilled fish with salmoriglio but fans rave about the Roman lamb stew with egg. Save room for dessert as even non- sweets eaters will swoon for the panna cotta. With pomegranate reduction, it's vanilla heaven. A dessert wine called Pomele that isn't available elsewhere is the way to go. Note, cash only but there is an ATM onsite. There's also $15 brunch specials; aperitivo, when quartinos are sold at the price of a glass and appetizers are provided on the house for diners at the bar; and the Sunday $20 traditional Roman porchetta feast: a thick slice of pork roast, a well- made salad, and $3 glasses of wine.

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