The team at one of Houston’s favorite dinner spots, Bludorn, has announced that New York chef Jerrod Zifchak will lead its new seafood restaurant, Navy Blue (2445 Times Boulevard) in Rice Village, which opens this November.
Zifchak, born in Chicago and raised in New York, previously worked with James Beard Award-nominated chef Aaron Bludorn at the now-shuttered Cafe Boulud in New York under the tutelage of renowned chef Daniel Boulud.
Their connection began there as they explored seafood within American cuisine with French techniques, Bludorn says. In 2019, Zifchak, who also worked at three-star Michelin restaurant Le Bernardin, served as executive chef of Cafe Boulud following Bludorn’s departure to open Houston’s Bludorn.
Now, the two will once again collaborate at Navy Blue to craft a menu that reflects the Gulf Coast, with various seafood dishes that use French techniques, Bludorn says.
Following 15 years in New York and multiple visits to Houston, Zifchak says he’s excited to have finally made the permanent move to Houston two weeks ago to prepare for Navy Blue’s opening.
“It’s exciting to experience another city … and something new,” Zifchak says. “It’s been really great so far, and I’m super excited to get to know the city.”
Though the menu is still being revised, Bludorn and Zifchak say they plan to reflect a solid connection to the Gulf Coast in the restaurant’s menu and design. Bludorn’s general manager and partner Cherif Mbjodi say the 7,100-square-foot tiled space will take on an ocean theme — with an open kitchen that gives diners a look into its various cooking styles — and incorporate a sommelier-assembled wine list, with an emphasis on old-world white wines and a menu featuring an assortment of modern takes on classic cocktails.
Navy Blue will also take cues from what’s been successful at the Bludorn establishment, focusing on a casual, fine-dining experience (sans tablecloths) with an emphasis on service, Bludorn says. The restaurant, which Bludorn, his wife Victoria Pappas Bludorn, and Mbodji signed a lease for last year, will first focus on dinner but has plans to expand with lunch.