The sparkling clubhouse bar. PHOTO COURTESY OF PARK HYATT AVIARA RESORT, GOLF CLUB & SPA
Celebrity chef Richard Blais stokes the fires of creativity at Carlsbad’s Ember & Rye.
The name Richard Blais has long been synonymous with gastronomic adventure in the form of innovative restaurant concepts under his Trail Blais dining portfolio—from the South’s Flip Burger Boutique to West Coast favorites Crack Shack and Juniper & Ivy. Now, the TV star—an alum of Bravo’s Top Chef: All-Stars and Food Network’s Iron Chef America and Chopped All-Stars, among others—has debuted his first restaurant within a hotel: Ember & Rye at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa. Nestled on the 18th hole of the Aviara Golf Club, the steak- and seafood-driven concept aims to team vintage flair with an ambiance of approachable luxury. “Ember & Rye is the type of restaurant I personally want to eat at every day. It is the embodiment of my cooking style, focusing on elevating classic dishes that many people may already be familiar with, while creating a distinct new style and flavor in a fun, playful way,” says Blais, who was inspired by his daughters, Embry and Riley, for the restaurant’s name. “Combining Ember & Rye’s menu concept and our engaging culinary team with such a lively space—that I define as ‘not your parents’ country club’ meets modern steakhouse—and you have a unique atmosphere that will have guests coming back again.”
The Flannery Beef ribeye topped with Ember & Rye’s signature embossed buttered blue cheese PHOTO COURTESY OF PARK HYATT AVIARA RESORT, GOLF CLUB & SPA
Grab a drink and a snack at the gorgeous emerald bar—light bites are made to order at the bar’s snack prep area, allowing you to watch the chefs in action—then settle in to one of two private dining rooms, one of which houses up to 14 guests, the other which offers space for up to 50. (There is also the alfresco patio if you prefer a front-row view of the fairway and the nearby Batiquitos Lagoon.)
The artful caviar service PHOTO COURTESY OF PARK HYATT AVIARA RESORT, GOLF CLUB & SPA
Once you’ve settled in, begin with a round of Smoking Embers—the photoworthy cocktail includes mezcal, grapefruit, agave (roasted by the soft glow of embers) and lime, which is all encased in a citrus smoke bubble—and get out the camera for the moment you pop it. Nibble on an order of caviar and pancakes; the beet salad with tangerine, goat cheese and hibiscus vinaigrette; or the Oysters & Pearls with leche de tigre for a taste of citrus and spice. As for the main course, take it from the chef himself. “The Chilean sea bass is one of my favorites; it’s luscious and fatty in the best of ways, and we double down on the richness with citrus miso butter,” says Blais. “It’s the chardonnay of fish dishes.” If meat is what you’re aft er, the maestro also recommends Thor’s “hammer cut” ribeye or the signature burger stacked with a dry-aged Flannery beef-blend patty, cheddar cheese, melted onion and sweet-and-sour pickles, with a side of triple-cooked fries and kimchi ketchup to boot. Don’t forget to go big on the sides—this is a steakhouse, after all. Star standouts include the parsnip creamed spinach with nutmeg and Gruyere, and the sherry-glazed mushrooms with black truffle butter. Naturally, one must also save room for dessert—Blais suggests the carrot cake club sandwich with coconut cream and pecan crisp.
The beautiful dining room. PHOTO COURTESY OF PARK HYATT AVIARA RESORT, GOLF CLUB & SPA
Finally, here’s an insider tip for sparking a night to remember: “We also offer a feasting menu, where we prepare a multicourse meal for an entire larger party. We were lucky enough to cook our first one for Tony Hawk,” Blais reveals. “We would love for people to celebrate with us.” Let the good times roll. 7447 Batiquitos Drive, Carlsbad, 760.603.6908, parkhyattaviara.com