Name: Pho Aura
Payment: Cash, Credit
Alcohol: Full Bar
Address: 5037 Westfields Boulevard, Centreville, VA 20120
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
From the street, Pho Aura looks like a typical, tiny Vietnamese noodle house and I'll tell you, it's anything but. Walk through the door and you're taken into the depths of an ultra-modern, chic and elegant restaurant.
Typical of my visits to restaurants, I found myself to be the only diner. The lack of customers made me a little bit scared and skeptical about the food but that was before I saw the worn menu pages. It looked as if hundreds of people had used it. Considering the restaurant isn't that old, that was definitely a good sign.
For starters, I ordered the charbroiled beef rolls. The perfectly seasoned beef and the crisp and fresh vegetables made the rolls phenomenal.
The dish was served with a simply amazing peanut sauce, making them the best charbroiled beef rolls I've ever eaten, or at least the best in recent memory.
I chased the appetizer with a grilled chicken rice pot. The dish consisted of a bed of rice covered with layers of chicken and vegetables; mainly broccoli, red peppers and onions. The dish came to the table sizzling hot with tender, juicy chicken and perfectly steamed vegetables.
But it was the rice that brought the dish together— it absorbed all the flavors the meat and veggies. The flavor became more intense as the meal progressed, but it wasn't until I got close to the end that I got the full impact. Final thoughts? The rice pot was good, but it could have been better.
The service was good and the atmosphere was memorable. The only thing I couldn't get with was the music. All they played was disco—loud disco. That music genre seemed really out of place in such a restaurant. Aside from that, I have no complaints. While I don't think I'll order a rice pot again any time soon, I would love to try a pho dish. I'll definitely be back.
I must admit, I was a bit shocked when I walked in and saw the place absolutely empty at dinner time—being that the restaurant is located in a well-known, well-walked shopping center in Centreville.
I would think this is an eatery that stays packed, but maybe it's more for the lunch crowd. Matsu Sushi, its culinary neighbor on the other side of the shopping center, usually has a line out the door on the weekends.
I look over the menu for a minute, but I already knew what I wanted. Since pho is so filling, I only had a bowl of pho tai (steak).
While waiting for my food, I had time to talk to the only person I saw. Apparently this person was the hostess-slash-server-slash owner. I gathered this because she kept saying,"we have this place.”
I had to ask her about the restaurant's website, because it mentions a grand opening on,"this Saturday," even though the place opened two years ago and there's only one location. She told me of plans to update the website. I would imagine this is something that takes at least two years to plan. But if you do visit the outdated website, I would suggest printing off the 20 percent off coupon before you go eat. I forgot to do so myself, but I'm guessing that coupon never expires.
The pho came out fast and was very good. The noodles were still stuck together and a little dry but after a few minutes of heating up in the bowl with the hot broth, it tasted better. The sprouts and veggies that accompanied it were very fresh.The broth had a lot of flavor to it and was meaty, but still contained less meat when compared to the same dish served at other places.
As far as appearance is concerned, the place did not look like a typical pho restaurant, the decor is much more modern and much fancier. The place had a good aura, no pun intended. The atmosphere was lonesome, but nice. Overall, I would definitely recommend the place; the staff of one was very friendly and the food was good. But if you go, take as many people as you can with you.