Chef and owner Aaron Bludorn will open Navy Blue, his second restaurant, on Nov. 18.

As previously announced, the American seafood restaurant will occupy the 7,100-square-foot former home of the Politan Row food hall, at 2445 Times Blvd. in Rice Village.

Austin-based Föda Studios, Houston-based Courtney Hill Interiors and Gensler, which has a major Houston office, worked on the restaurant’s design, which was “inspired by the idea of an ocean not yet touched by humanity,” according to a press release. For instance, the hostess stand serves as a pearl surrounded by an oyster-shaped wall made of sandy concrete breeze blocks.

The dining room seats 110, and a flexible private dining room behind the bar can accommodate up to 40 guests or used for overflow capacity. Outside, dining tables straddle both sides of the front entrance on Times Boulevard on a covered patio lined with planters.

“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,” Aaron Bludorn said in a Nov. 11 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.”

As previously announced, Aaron Bludorn; his wife, Victoria; and their business partner, Cherif Mbodji, are leading the restaurant, with Mbodji overseeing front-of-house operations led by General Manager Elizabeth Acosta. Executive Chef Jerrod Zifchak, who was hired earlier this year, worked with Aaron Bludorn at Cafe Boulud in New York and took over for him after the Bludorns departed for Houston in 2019 to open their first restaurant, Bludorn. Zifchak also worked at Le Bernadin, a three-star Michelin seafood restaurant in New York.

Jerrod and Aaron Bludorn wanted the menu to showcase various ways seafood can be prepared. That includes everything from oceanic delicacies to pasta with modern twists. Marie Riddle, executive pastry chef, designed desserts to complement the savory dishes.

Sommelier Molly Austad curated a wine list of around 160 bottles, including several sparkling options as well as a range of white wine selections and lighter reds. Although it emphasizes French wines, the list includes some from Greece, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain as well as New World whites from America, Australia and New Zealand. Darryl Chan created the cocktail program, focusing on spirits with a cleaner profile such as gin, vodka and rum. The restaurant also will offer a signature martini program, tiki drinks and an expansive Scotch list.

“We wanted to create a menu with plenty of options and the same kind of approachability that guests love at Bludorn,” said Aaron Bludorn. “What oysters are to Bludorn, which are done three 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.”

Navy Blue will be open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10:00 pm, and Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday dinner service from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. will be added on Dec. 4. Next year, the restaurant will add lunch and Sunday brunch service. Reservations are now open on Resy and are strongly encouraged. Valet and self-parking are available.

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