In the navy
Bludorn team's new Rice Village seafood restaurant sets anticipated opening date
One of this year’s most eagerly anticipated restaurants will open next week. Navy Blue, the new seafood restaurant from the team behind Bludorn, begins dinner service on Friday, November 18.
Located in the former Politan Row space in Rice Village (2445 Times Blvd.), Navy Blue applies Bludorn’s template of French-influenced, contemporary cuisine to a menu grounded in fish and shellfish. Developed by chef-owner Aaron Bludorn and executive chef Jerrod Zifchak, diners will find an eclectic array of dishes that can be shared or not.
“With Bludorn, we found that the ultimate luxury was the ability to choose your own dining experience and we plan to emphasize that even more at Navy Blue,” Bludorn said in a statement. “The ability to come in and enjoy the restaurant without feeling the need to dress up or to feel pressure to adhere to traditional standards of a fine dining restaurant is what we strived to achieve at the first concept and what we will strive to cultivate once Navy Blue launches.”
Just as meals at Bludorn may begin with oysters three ways — raw, baked, and fried — Navy Blue offers diners multiple preparations of oysters; clams (casino, fried, or steamed); and shrimp (cocktail, fried, or BBQ). Other starters include three varieties of caviar, tuna crudo, and crab cakes.
The trio theme continues in the entree section with the ability to order whole Dover sole as almondine, Oscar, or Provencal and lobster as boiled, grilled, or Thermidore. Other entrees include blackened snapper; swordfish au poivre; and salmon with sauce grenobloise (browned butter, capers, parsley, and lemon). Non-seafood eaters will find roast chicken and steak with chimichurri.
In between, diners can enhance their meals with soups and salads like gumbo, mussel bisque, and a Caesar with boquerones. Seafood pastas like linguine vongole, lobster ravioli, and risotto with lobster and cuttlefish round out the offerings.
“We wanted to create a menu with plenty of options and the same kind of approachability that guests love at Bludorn,” Bludorn said. “What oysters are to Bludorn, which are done 3 ways — fried, baked, and raw — clams, shrimp, and Dover sole are to Navy Blue. We’ll also have a running rotation of fresh fish with preparation suggestions, but guests can swap it out however they want. We are nothing if not flexible when it comes to putting our guests’ tastes first — that’s why we are here, and we love what we do.”
Diners can have confidence in the kitchen. Not only did Zifchak succeed Bludorn as executive chef at New York’s Cafe Boulud, he also worked at Le Bernadin, New York’s three-star Michelin restaurant that’s among the country’s top destinations for seafood.
Executive chef Jerrod Zifchak. Photo by Michael Anthony
Beverage options start with a seafood-friendly wine list that contains selections from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, America, and more. Cocktails include a range of martinis along with a few tiki-inspired libations.
Inside, Bludorn, his wife Victoria Pappas Bludorn, and partner Cherif Mbodji worked with Austin-based Föda Studios, Courtney Hill Interiors, and Gensler to transform the 7,100-square-foot-space into Navy Blue. Details include tables separated by white oak partitions, a steel and driftwood installation in the bar, and a 40 seat private dining room.
"There's not a lot seafood restaurants across the country that have gained any national notoriety. People are seeing an opportunity," Bludorn said on a recent episode of CultureMap’s “What’s Eric Eating” podcast. "Joshua Skenes did Angler, Fermín Núñez just opened Este. I think, where better than Houston to be the next one of those restaurants that opens and focuses on American seafood."