Low-Key-Luxe Tavern Bar Bludorn Brings Star-Chef Power Outside the Loop

Low-Key-Luxe Tavern Bar Bludorn Brings Star-Chef Power Outside the Loop

Alexandra Pena and Aaron Bludorn (photo by Lauren Holub)

A WELCOME ADDITION to the outer Loop, restaurateur Aaron Bludorn’s new Hedwig Village tavern is packed nightly with coworkers, couples and families, all eager to dine on his fancy-yet-unfussy take on pub food.

With Bar Bludorn, the unstoppable chef — who has successfully opened three restaurants in Houston in the last three years, and has his sights set on a fourth, at the Bunkhouse Group’s forthcoming Saint Augustine Hotel in Montrose — put the cooking in the hands of the beautiful and capable Alexandra Peña, who is easy to spot in the shiny open kitchen.

A visit to Bar Bludorn ushers in punchy flavors of mostly classics with some twists — like carrot-ginger soup with fresh and candied ginger, and a Wagyu short rib Rueben sandwich on housemade bread we would gladly eat daily. The surprise of green-pea hummus sings with fresh garlic (order extra pita bread — it’s that good!).

Expect a wide range of entrees, including a lovely Ora King salmon filet with yogurt-dill sauce; tender steak frites draped in au poivre vert; and roasted duck with mango and yam. Fried chicken gussied up with peanut-butter gravy, mashed potatoes and collard greens is a popular option, and of course there’s a towering tavern burger, served with a single slice of tomato as thick and juicy and indispensible as the patty itself.

But one of the best dishes is homemade tortellini: so perfectly al dente with a unique artichoke stuffing and garnish of bright tomato confit and lemon zest. Addictive.

As for dessert, the Lime in the Coconut is a textural dream. It’s like a deconstructed key-lime pie but better, and topped with crunchy clusters of coconut flakes.

The handsome, softly lit and intimate restaurant has a timeless clubby look, while still being everyday-comfy. It’s located in the nondescript, red-brick rectangular building previously home to Jonathan’s the Rub. Walls between the adjacent tenants were all knocked down, and Bar Bludorn is one giant open-concept space, flanked on either end by a bustling kitchen and a classic, tavern-style bar. One long wall is lined with half-circle-shaped booths that give a prime view of the whole room.

Planning to pop in without a reservation? The bar area typically fills up daily by 5:30pm, so advanced planning is recommended to snag a coveted dining-room table. Cheers!

Country Ham Beignets (photo by Caroline Fontenot)

Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream Sandwich (photo by Caroline Fontenot)

Dining Room_ (photo by Claudia Casbarian)

Spaghetti Carbonara (photo by Lauren Holub)

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