i was out in sugar land last week and needed a spot for dinner. i remembered reading a review of AURA on foodinhouston.blogspot.com, which also made the chronicle's #4 best new restaurant in 2007. this little gem is out in missouri city, a good 35 min drive from downtown w/o traffic, 10 mins from sugar land. as an inner looper, i now find myself jealous of the folks living further south.
i ordered the pate et terrine maison to start. it was not on the menu that evening, but our server said it was available. for $9.50, the appetizer consisted of 2 large slices of pork terrine and a small crock of fois gras pate. at first i found the pate was a little too salty for my taste alone on the french bread, but i found that layering pate with healthy piece of terrine and topping it off with the dijon mustard it came with made a delicious bite. my dining companion was vegetarian. i surprised myself by eating half of the plate and i found myself feeling guilty that i enjoyed it so much while my friend could only sit and watch.
for my entree, i had the mahogany lacquered sea bass which was served on a bed of mashed potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and leeks. the dish was delicate, delicious, and delightful. the fish was cooked perfectly. i had been craving sea bass for a couple weeks and it hit the spot. $22
vegetarian options on the menu were basically non-existent, but the chef produced a fine veggie plate at our request. it included asparagus spears, snow peas, carrots, ratatouille, and haricot vert gorgeously arranged on a plate. i could tell the veggies were slightly overcooked based on the color, but my dining companion preferred it this way (bad teeth). they also brought a side of truffed mac & cheese in a small cast iron dish (at our request as well). there was a nice layer of baked gruyere on top. the cheese sauce was sharp but not offensive. it was creamy loveliness. $14
service was slow (over 1.5 hour dinner on a wed night) but there was a big top (10 people) they had to serve before us. the restaurant is modern, the atmosphere casual and unpretentious. the prices are very reasonable. this is a great addition to the neighborhood (i just wish it were mine!)