As I have reported here, Aura in the Township Square shopping center in Missouri City recently closed to prepare for its move to Sugar Land Town Square. In its place, Chef Perrier has opened an Italian restaurant called Coco Pazzo by Aura. My husband and I recently got a chance to foist off our children on their grandparents so we could go out to dinner, and we couldn’t wait to give Coco Pazzo a try.
For those of you who had visited Aura, you will find that the interior of the restaurant is pretty much exactly the same. As I recall, Aura gave its last dinner service on a Friday, and Coco Pazzo opened the following Monday, so there was no time for a major re-working of the interior or decor. Coco Pazzo is located in the Township Square center on FM 1092, between Cartwright Road and Highway 6.
There is a very small patio, and the interior is a cozy space with dark wood tables and chairs.
Just like Aura, there is a set menu, but there are also a number of specials each evening, which are featured on the chalkboard that your server will bring to your table. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the regular menu isn’t available online, and I neglected to take photos of it. I do recall that there were enough choices that I had a hard time deciding — steaks, seafood, chicken, veal, and pasta, along with a variety of salads and appetizers.
While we perused the menu, we ordered wine. The wine list offers bottles and wines by the glass, organized by price point rather than by region or varietal. We were happy to find one of our favorites, Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, at a very reasonable price. I was impressed that our server clearly had been trained in the proper way to serve wine.
We also were served a cute pail of bread with a tomato aioli. There were a variety of breads, including cornbread muffins. Yeah, you had me at hello!
After lots of hemming and hawing over what to choose, we finally settled on the Pomodoro al Forno as an appetizer. This was a dish of baked tomatoes and goat cheese with sliced ciabatta bread. The goat cheese was amazingly fresh. The flavors were clean, simple, and delicious.
For our entrees, we chose the filet mignon and the butternut squash ravioli. My husband ordered the filet cooked medium, and it came out slightly more toward the medium rare side. It was accompanied by a Cognac peppercorn sauce. He said the sauce had a nice bite from the pepper, rather than an overwhelming amount of cream like you often find at other restaurants. He said that the sauce reminded him of one he had eaten in France, which goes to show that Chef Perrier still imbues all of his cooking with his signature “inch of French.”
My butternut squash ravioli was exactly the autumnal flavor I was craving (our visit was in late November, just before Thanksgiving). The creamy butternut squash filling was the perfect complement to the sage butter sauce. This ravioli was to die for!
Dessert options included white chocolate bread pudding, profiteroles, creme brulee, apple tart, and tiramisu. There was also a dessert trio available, which I chose, while my husband went with the creme brulee. The trio included a profiterole, white chocolate bread pudding and creme brulee, all in dainty sizes that gave just enough of a taste without being too much. The highlight of dessert, though, was that my hubby’s creme brulee came with a chocolate monkey! I don’t know why the monkey was there, but it was a charming (and yummy) touch.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The food was out of this world, and the service was generally excellent, save for one small glitch at the end of our meal. I ordered a cappuccino that never arrived, and the server forgot about my husband’s request for a dessert wine until after dessert had been served. Moreover, the prices are incredibly reasonable for the quality of food and, as I mentioned, the wine list is also reasonably priced.
This is definitely a date night restaurant — kids will likely not enjoy it unless they have very sophisticated palates. We are looking forward to getting back to Coco Pazzo at our first available opportunity!