Clara has landed just a block from the ocean in Carlsbad, where the 2,000-square-foot restaurant and bar joins the mix at the Village Faire shopping center. The newly-remodeled North County spot, styled by local graphic designer Jess Hicks, includes two outdoor patios and a nine-seat bar that the centerpiece of the dining room.
Now open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Clara will launch lunch and weekend brunch service next month. In the kitchen is Alex Carballo (Moto Deli, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens), a well-known local chef whose menu is a seasonally-specific representation of California cuisine with an emphasis on vegetable-based dishes ranging from fire roasted asparagus with lemon caper sauce and balsamic pearls to chile arbol braised cauliflower tacos and lettuce wraps filed with lemongrass tofu and mushrooms in a tamarind sweet chili glaze. A range of housemade flatbreads will also focus on vegetables, from a beet crust topped with creamy dijon goat cheese sauce, sliced beets, arugula, sliced almonds, and honey drizzle to a ricotta and mozzarella-topped dough with sliced zucchini red pepper flakes.
Heftier proteins show up among the entrees, ranging from sous vide lemon herb chicken served with sweet potato hash, cipollini, zucchini, tomato and chicken demi-glace to scallops with sunchoke puree, asparagus fennel salad, and tarragon vinaigrette.
Behind the bar is Seth Marquez (Campfire, Sycamore Den), another top local talent whose cocktail list revolves around sessionable, low ABV cocktails that incorporate locally grown produce as well as liqueurs, fortified wines and sherries. Several of the cocktails are designed to be shareable, served in a classic porron or Spanish wine pitcher.