Road Trip. And to Missouri City of all places. Only about 30 minutes from inside the Loop, we found Aura, Chef Frederic Perrier’s new digs in the Fort Bend ‘burbs. Opened since November, this French restaurant has garnered very good reviews. Chef Perrier, the French trained owner-chef, has quite a history in the Houston restaurant community, from Grille 5115 to Café Perrier.
The cozy, two room restaurant has as much of a French bistro atmosphere as you can achieve when located in a typical suburban strip shopping complex. There’s no pretension here, casual clothes are just fine. Reservations, at least on a weekend, appeared to be a must as the place was packed. The chef’s wife is a charming hostess, and the wait staff is very accommodating. The wine list was very reasonably priced but limited in selection. (No liquor license, only beer and wine are served.) The manager/sommelier was helpful but not overly knowledgeable. But that’s o’kay, this isn’t the place you go to splurge on wine. It’s the food that’s the draw.
We had read about the house made pate, an off the menu request at dinner. We were served two slices of a good country pate and a crock of foie gras mousse. Yum. We would have liked toast points, rather than sliced french bread. And the dish would have benefited from a little sea salt to accompany the traditional condiments of mustard and cornichons. But we ate every bite, and we were particularly excited with the $9.50 tariff. Now, that’s value.
For our main courses we tried the heralded buffalo sliders and the scallop and short rib appetizer. The mini burgers, served cooked as ordered on toasted brioche buns with grilled onions and topped with foie gras, were delicious. The accompanying french fries were good but not quite crisp enough. The seared scallops were perfectly cooked, sliced in half, stuffed with rich short ribs and sauced with a burgundy reduction. An intriguing combo that worked. The four large scallops were beautifully plated, each cutely skewered sitting on an oblong serving dish. And also a great value for $12. We had a side of truffled macaroni and cheese as we remembered this dish from Cafe Perrier, one of the first Houston restaurants to introduce the now very popular upscale mac and cheese. Not as rich as some versions, we enjoyed the gruyere focus. We saw a number of dishes served to other tables and the portions were quite generous. A beautiful rack of lamb was a popular special that night.
Desserts were displayed on a chalk board. The restaurant features soufflés which seemed to be a popular choice. We tried the dark chocolate bread pudding, which could have been a little moister and fluffier. Next time we’ll try the baked to order apple tart.
We’ll make the trip down the Southwest Freeway again. The food was great, reasonably priced, and served in a very comfortable atmosphere.
3340 FM 1092, # 160, Missouri City