Turn on some lights, Aurora!
For our November get together, the Brooklyn girls and I found comforting Italian food at Aurora. I don't visit Williamsburg too often, but dinner a few days earlier at Roebling Tea Room made it my second trip in one week. If you ever go there, get the roast chicken.
But back to Bklyn Girls Night.
Located at the end of a fairly desolate street, Aurora is a warm and cozy surprise with a dark wooden bar, exposed brick, wide plank floors and high ceilings. I arrived a good fifteen minutes early (definitely the first time that has ever happened!), and used the extra time to linger over the menu. Once the rest of the girls arrived, we were seated in the restaurant's winterized garden.
All of Aurora's homemade pastas were enticing (and thankfully there were only 5 to choose from), but the buckwheat ravioli filled with chestnut and fontina won over six of us. Indecisive as usual, I convinced Roxanne to split them and a seafood stew with me.
While sitting at the bar before everyone arrived, I loved the slight glow coming from small paper bags scattered throughout the restaurant. When it came time to eat, I felt like an old lady, poking at my food and sticking my face close to everything so I could get a better look. All of the couples canoodling at nearby tables didn't seem to mind the low-lit, romantic vibe, but for someone who needs to photograph her food, I was slightly frustrated. With Roxanne's undying devotion to the success of This Little Piglet, we managed to get a few.
Topped with chaneterelle and porcini mushrooms, the ravioli was buttery and cloud-like with a smooth and subtle chestnut filling. I would have liked a bit more sweetness in the dish but it sent the rest of the table swooning.
I was less impressed with the seafood stew. It had a nice amount of lobster, clams, calamari and snapper, but with only a little broth, it didn't feel particuarly stewy to me.
Maggie was in charge of ordering the wine and she found us a great red from Italy's Piedmont region (where my Italian relatives happen to live), though I of course forgot to write down the name.
For someone who loves desserts, I'm sorry to say that Italian sweets never really wow me. Aurora's selection was no different, but true to form, I still managed to lick the plates clean. My favorite was the chocolate and chestnut cake that Judith ordered. The consistency resembled cheesecake, though its crust crunched like a piece of biscotti.
I couldn't get any of the desserts to perk up for a picture, so we decided to have a Bklyn Girls Night photo shoot instead.
Here is Maggie deep in thought about something while the guy behind her throws back a buckwheat ravioli in one bite. Look closely and you'll see what I mean.
Molly smiles for the camera while showing how damn dark it is inside Aurora.
It was Megan's first Brooklyn Girls Night and though Judith and I told her how lucky she was to join the group right before we closed membership (it's too hard to coordinate more than ten New York City agendas at once), I still couldn't resist inviting four more people during Allison's birthday dinner last weekend. Sorry Juuuuuudy!
Judith and Roxanne discuss how much they love my blog, especially this list of restaurant recommendations.
Judith: Isn't This Little Piglet THE BEST? I don't know how I ever lived without it.
Roxanne: I know, I can't let a day go by without finding out where and what she's eaten.
(For those of you wondering, Roxanne selected Knife + Fork for her birthday dinner).
Roxanne and I demonstrate other fun uses for the glowing paper bags. If you find yourself at Aurora without any cash, I have two things to tell you. There's an ATM in the back of the restaurant, but bring one of these along since it's pitch black back there too. Otherwise, you might end up taking out $40 more than you need like I did.
Thanks ladies for another wonderful evening! Looking forward to our next outing in Carroll Gardens. We'll be starting with wine and cheese at Lucy's second shoe/clothing store, Lucia, located on the corner of Smith St. and Douglass, followed by dinner at Robin de Bois. (To anyone reading this who lives in the neighborhood: If you're tired of all the pricey boutiques, Lucy and her shop are sure to cheer you up. Go there now!).
70 Grand Street