PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston October 2020

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Page 109 of 111

brave new BLUDORN Chef Bludorn has quite the impressive CV. His culinary career, nurtured at the CIA in Hyde Park, took him to Michelin- starred kitchens from Napa to New York City. His last decade was spent in Manhattan at Daniel Boulud's Café Boulud, where he rose to the position of executive chef — and met his future wife, Victoria Pappas, daughter of Houstonian Chris Pappas, co-founder of their family's eponymous restaurant group. When it was time to strike out on their own, the pair (soon to be a trio, with a baby on the way) made their way to Houston to re-imagine the 1930s warehouse that once housed Antone's, and later Pass & Provisions. Joining the endeavor are mixologist Darryl Chan and GM Cherif Mbodji, two more Café Boulud alumni. Courtney Hill Interiors and architects Schuster Inc. preserved the history of the building while fashioning the interiors in crisp blue tones with natural wood finishes, mid-century-inspired accents, and a bustling open kitchen. Bludorn focuses on Gulf Coast cuisine enlivened by French culinary technique. Oyster fans can choose raw Murder Points with house-made hot sauce; fried oysters topped with sauce gribiche, a delicious mayo-style sauce with hard- boiled eggs, mustard, cornichon, and capers; or Bludorn's interpretation of the classic roasted oyster Rockefeller with watercress and Parmesan ($4.75 each, half-dozen $21, dozen $39). When I dined chez Bludorn, the menu included a roasted octopus appetizer basted with an herbaceous chermoula sauce paired with an unctuous almond, yogurt, and potato purée that will be difficult to pull from rotation without a customer uprising ($25). The stuffed squash blossoms filled with sheep's- milk ricotta were served on a shallow pool of pesto topped with bacon red pepper jam ($17). The classic foie gras terrine is served with warm lemon- scented biscuits and peach purée ($28). Don't miss the short rib ravioli tossed with fresh figs and napped in a saba wine sauce reduction and a crumbling of blue cheese ($23/$38). The land and sea selections will cause the indecisive to dither under the tempting choices. One suggestion, the lobster pot pie, is a sharable dish that encompasses an entire fresh Maine lobster: The crisp bronzed puff-pastry crust is delicately cut open tableside to release the steam before the sherry- tinged velouté is finished with a generous dollop of lime-scented crème fraiche — utterly delectable ($52). The wine list, overseen by Master Sommelier Jack Mason (Pappas Steakhouse), is rich with French and American vintages, with an emphasis on small boutique labels from around the world, and desserts are executed by pastry chef Alejandra Salas (Bar Boulud, Nobu, The French Laundry). Classics include chocolate soufflé ($16) and baked Alaska with homemade pistachio ice cream and raspberry sorbet, its meringue- iced exterior doused with brandy and set ablaze tableside ($21). It's a good as it looks. Reservations required. Bludorn, 807 Taft St., 713.999.0146, I n a year that has struck a devastating blow to the restaurant community, we're rallying around those who, in the midst of plans to open a restaurant this past spring, never swayed from their aim, staying on track while anticipating brighter days ahead. Aaron Bludorn is one of those daring restaurateurs — a first- timer, no less, who sustained his focus through the pandemic to open Bludorn on Taft, in the former home of Pass & Provisions. Classic foie gras terrine served with lemon-scented biscuits Yuzu Sour with Japanese whiskey Quail with bacon, rosemary, and berries Chef Aaron Bludorn and wife Victoria Pappas Bludorn Bludorn interiors designed by Courtney Hill Interiors and Schuster Inc. architects The open kitchen at Bludorn BY LAuRANN CLARIDGe. PHOTOGRAPHY JuLIe SOeFeR.

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