The trio of local restaurateurs Chris Pastena, Michael Iglesias and Jessica Sackler behind Oakland's forthcoming regional Mexican restaurant Calavera have tapped Christian Irabien to lead the kitchen as executive chef. Irabien comes to Oakland from Washington, DC's Le Diplomate, where he served as Executive Sous. Prior to that, he spent time back in DC with both Sackler and Iglesias at Jose Andres' Oyamel Cocina Mexicana.
Irabien sees the Calavera post as an opportunity to return to his roots in Chihuahua, but plans to explore a wide range of culinary traditions ranging from pre-Columbian to modern Mexican. The menu, which is getting a test run of sorts at a Cinco de Mayo pop-up next month, features locally sourced produce wherever possible, as well as rare and indigenous Mexican ingredients like huitlacoche, heirloom corn and Oaxacan grasshoppers. Expect a diversity of tacos, moles and ceviches, plus what the bar team hopes will be the the Bay Area's largest selection of tequila and mezcal.
According to Inside Scoop, the space at 2337 Broadway in Uptown Oakland is getting 150 seats, plus an outdoor patio and is expected to open sometime in June.
In the meantime, that aforementioned pop-up and celebration happens from 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. on May 5th at Lungomare in Jack London Square. The menu is embedded below. Reservations can be had by calling (510) 444-7171.