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Aurora

Every Italian joint this side of Carroll Gardens has the standard vongole — but one Williamsburg restaurant’s menu is making its name as a one-of-a-kind, serious foodie destination.

“All the wines and dishes represent small grape farms and recipes I remember from my small town outside of Rome,” said the manager, Gianluca Legrottaglie. “There’s no Chardonnay or pinot grigio here — we pair our wines and simple dishes direct from Italy.”

And he pairs them well. Though a good half of the menu is vegetarian (which disappoints our meat-loving staff), each of Aurora chef Adam Weisell’s distinctive emulsions is a testament to Italian flavor — and each has Legrottaglie’s skill in wine pairing behind it.

Try Weisell’s Tagliatelle Al Limone ($13) for instance, a refreshing and salty mixture of hand-cut pasta, lemon, basil, chili and crushed almonds. Pair it with a glass of Falesco Ferentano Lazio, a rich white that balances the dish with hints of tropical fruit and toasted nuts, for an exquisite finish.

But it’s not over when the full stomach sings — there’s too much to try here. Don’t leave without sampling the creamy, chestnut-filled Ravioli Con Castagna Al Tartufo ($17), another vegetarian dish with a black truffle sauce that’ll make you forget about Italian sausage forever (though the eatery’s sausage is delizioso).

From the seared spicy squid to the creamy truffles, Aurora’s menu deserves a rank among the top Italian in the borough.

Where: 70 Grand St. near Wythe Avenue
Tel: (718) 388–5100
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Updated Apr. 15, 2010
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