Chihuly Glass Garden featured on Aura's main wall.

Trying to find some local dives in Sugar Land can often feel like looking for a needle in a hay stack—a whole lot of itchy fluff with the occasional shining treasure. While scouting for a few good local eateries a year ago, I came across Aura Brasserie. Situated right next to Reve Bridal Store in Town Square, Aura is a shining beacon of fine dining in a side of town that has grown accustomed to making the drive into the Inner Loop for nice nights out.

Aura Brasserie
15977 City Walk, Sugar Land
281-403-2872
aurabrasserie.com

Sugar Landers, listen to me: start going to Aura instead. With chef Frederic Perrier about to be awarded Master Chef status in his homeland of France (the highest culinary award the country can give), you cannot afford to miss this food. I was there for another visit just the other night, and as usual the changing menu did not disappoint.

One of chef Perrier’s current specials is a lobster beignet appetizer which is bathed is a creamy pool of lobster bisque. This is definitely a dish to call home about, and I highly recommend making a run to Aura ASAP to try and catch this special while it’s still around. The warm bisque had a kick of spice to it, which complemented the crispy batter and fluffy lobster filling of the beignets. This dish tasted like fresh, exquisite crustacean inside and out.

Another special my family and I sampled during our recent dinner was roasted lamb chops served with curried couscous. The dish is steeped in comforting, earthy flavors, giving you a taste of sweetness with dried cherries in the curried couscous with a crunchy almond accent, all of it providing the layers of contrasting tastes and textures that make a perfect dish.

Fluffy Lobster Beignets with Spicy Bisque bathe

But seasonal specials are just that: seasonal. And when your favorite dish from the ever-changing chalk board disappears, then what are we Sugar Landers to do? Well, we’re in luck, because Aura’s staple menu items won’t be letting anyone’s taste buds down anytime soon. With dishes like Berkshire pork short ribs that smell and taste like the classiest barbeque you’ve ever had (accented with an apple cabbage confit that's just to die for), and paella-style salmon (with cheesy chorizo risotto, served in a paella pan to boot), Aura’s menu is never boring. Every item on it is unique and flavorful—even the dishes that you’d expect to be more generic.

It's often said you can judge a restaurant by the quality of its roast chicken—a deceptively difficult dish to perfect—and Aura’s roast chicken is by far one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Perrier sears his chicken quarters on top and bottom to give them the beautiful, crispy golden touch before they’re finished in the over to stay moist and tender. It is then topped with jus that is herbaceous and rich, despite being such a thin sauce.

The mini-dessert Trio gives a great taste of house made creme brulee, cake, and profiteroles.

Finishing up your dinner with Perrier’s special crème brûlée “Le Cirque” is a good idea. The chef’s own recipe that he made while he worked in the famous Le Cirque restaurant in some of his earlier years, this crème brûlée is like eating velvet vanilla. It makes for a perfect finish to a perfect dinner.

For all of us Sugar Landers out there, Aura should be your regular date night treat or family event spot. With bright, welcoming interiors that call to mind a modern French bistro and a glass flower garden of Chihuly-style ornaments along the wall, Aura is our center for fine dining, a gem amidst the Sugar Land bad habit of Cheesecake Factories and TGI Fridays. Everyone should be giving it a taste, and I’m sure you’ll all be going back for more in August when Aura participates in Houston Restaurants Weeks.

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