One of Houston's most eagerly anticipated new restaurants will make its debut next week. Bludorn opens August 21.
The first restaurant for chef Aaron Bludorn and his wife, native Houstonian Victoria Pappas Bludorn, Bludorn will occupy the former The Pass & Provisions space at 807 Taft St. Its menu will draw from chef Bludorn's experience at New York's Michelin-starred Café Boulud, where he served as executive chef for five years, along with New American elements and Gulf Coast ingredients.
Pappas Bludorn will serve as the restaurant's director of operations. She'll be joined by general manager Cherif Mbodji, another Café Boulud veteran, as well as pastry chef Alejandra Salas, whose resume includes Bar Boulud and The French Laundry.
As shown in the photos above, the design features an open kitchen and raw bar with blue velvet banquettes and polished wooden floors. The bar has mid-century modern touches, including custom stained glass windows depicting Karbach Brewing Co; upstairs, diners will find a 40-seat private dining room. Bludorn's 40-seat patio features a communal table that sits under an oak tree and will be cigar friendly, according to a release.
Initially open for dinner Monday - Saturday with brunch to follow, Bludorn's menu begins with raw selections, including oysters, shrimp, and lobster. Appetizers include squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta, foie gras with a lemon biscuit, and gazpacho with lemon basil and chili oil. "Grains" cover both pastas such as short rib ravioli as well as polenta and a barley dish with corn and chanterelle mushrooms. Entrees range from salmon crusted with five different seeds and Gulf cioppino to lamb with couscous and dry-aged strip steak with potato and chimicurri.
During an interview with CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" podcast, the chef described Bludorn's cuisine as more American than the French fare he served during his time at Café Boulud.
"I didn't want to come down to Texas and cook the food I was cooking in New York," Bludorn said. "That didn't appeal to me that much. I have to realize where I am and give credit to what's around here but give it my own take. To me, it's about the ingredients and chasing after what the Gulf has to offer, what farms have to bring."
Salas will put her talent for pastry and ice cream to good use with desserts such as a baked Alaska, seasonal cobblers, and baked-to-order beignets.
Café Boulud beverage director Darryl Chan and Pappas Bros. master sommelier Jack Mason teamed up to create the restaurant's beverage offerings. Cocktails are classified by the style of glass they're served in, while the wine list focuses on both French and domestic wineries that will pair well with the restaurant's food.
Bludorn has developed procedures to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Staff will complete daily health questionnaires and wear appropriate PPE while at work. Social distancing measures will be in place, and 6-foot clear partitions will separate tables.