PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity HoustonJune 2024

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Page 27 of 83

Left: Baked and fried oysters at Bar Bludorn. Above: Whole roasted lobster at Prime 131. NEW THOUGHTFUL FOUR F a n s o f c h e f a n d restaurateur Aaron Bludorn have a new haunt to frequent. The creator of his namesake restaurant, Bludorn, and the seafood-focused Navy Blue has opened Bar Bludorn, a tavern in Hedwig Village, along with his wife, Victoria Pappas Bludorn, and partner Cherif Mbodji. Situated in a Memorial-area neighborhood scattered with ubiquitous chain restaurants, Bar Bludorn is an exciting anomaly. The 5,000-square-foot space, warmed with walnut wood paneling, was designed by Gensler. Channeled hunter-green banquettes line the perimeter, with vintage terrazzo flooring and a slatted wood ceiling buffering the chatter below. RESTAURANTS B enjamin Berg made his name in Houston with a multitude of restaurants — all culinary hits. Now the founder of Berg Hospitality Group has opened Prime 131, a live-fire steakhouse and Japanese-style sushi bar that pays homage to his first success, B&B Butchers. Housed in a former window factory, Prime 131's 8,000 square feet are bathed in a moody darkness, lit by the orange glow emitted from four live-fire grills that take center stage in the sprawling open kitchen situated in the middle of the dining room. Gail McCleese and her firm Sensitori were charged with recreating New York's Meatpacking District in the early '90s with its electric and gritty appeal. The original concrete floors have been polished and stained and play well with rough-hewn metal details. Reserve one of four elevated tables in the Korean barbecue balcony, where banquettes are kitted with Korean-style grills. Select from three steak omakase menus that highlight USDA Prime cuts along with American, Australian, and Japanese Wagyu. Here nearly every protein has felt the singe of the fire, although the choice of smoke is yours. While the chefs — regional culinary director Alisher Yallaev and Ricardo Cerna — grill over post oak wood, you can request pecan or the sweet smoke of a wood cask that once cradled aging bourbon. Prime 131, 2505 W. 11th St., BAR BLUDORN PRIME 131 LAURANN CLARIDGE DIGS INTO HOUSTON'S NOTEWORTHY CULINARY OPENINGS. General manager Cole Parry describes the company's latest endeavor as the "spiritual successor to Bludorn. Like their other concepts, this one pays a respectful nod to our city's place along the Gulf Coast, rife with riches from its waters, under the guidance of executive chef Alexandra "Allie" Peña. To start, oysters can be fried, baked, or enjoyed raw ($4 each). A bright English pea hummus is ringed with freshly grown pea tendrils, dotted with chermoula, and served with vegetables and warm za'atar-spiced laffa flatbread ($17), while fluffy, savory ricotta-filled beignets are topped with thin slices of Lady Edison country ham ($19). To accompany your starters (and the delightful Parker House rolls), try a tincture from barman Fabio Pontes, such as the Delusion of Grandeur made with mezcal, coconut, lime, and chai with the spice of ginger beer ($14). Entrees include fried chicken with peanut butter gravy, mashed potatoes, and collard greens, a dish with a cult following that was offered monthly at its sibling ($37), as well as cornmeal-crusted snapper served in a potlikker broth, such as its accompaniment, kale and black-eyed peas ($41). And, what's a tavern without beef? There are plenty of options, from steak frites ($41) to a juicy burger made with dry-aged beef ($17) and four cuts of steak ($65 - market price). Bar Bludorn, 9061 Gaylord Dr., LAUREN HOLUB BRIAN KENNEDY (Continued) 26

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