Longtime industry vet Alex Carballo will helm the kitchen at Clara, which is scheduled to open in Carlsbad Village in mid-July. The 2,000-square-foot space, formerly a hookah lounge, has been transformed into a full-service restaurant and bar. With a warm atmosphere and welcoming outdoor patio, the eatery is aiming to transplant a slice of European cafe culture into downtown Carlsbad.
Co-founder of North County’s Moto Deli, which is launching a second location in Mira Mesa, Carballo is also taking over a City Heights bar. The chef tells Eater that his menu for Clara will center around straightforward and flavor-focused California cuisine — a reflection of the restaurant’s name, which translates to ‘clear’ in Spanish. The food will be paired with a cocktail list created by bar manager Seth Marquez, who previously worked at standout spots including Campfire, Sycamore Den, and Coin-Op.
Clara will kick things off with dinner service, with lunch and brunch added later. The menu will include bar bites like pickled deviled eggs and starters ranging from salt and pepper chicken bites with pineapple chili sauce to fried green tomatoes with avocado aioli, cherry tomato, arugula, feta, red onion, and honey dijon vinaigrette. There will be flatbread twist on pasta carbonara with garlic and herb oil, parmesan, cured ham, and egg as well as entrees that include 12-hour sous vide and oven roasted chicken with sweet potato hash, cippolini, zucchini, tomato, and chicken demi-glace and scallops with sunchoke puree, fennel, asparagus fennel salad, and tarragon vinaigrette.