“Claro” means “clear” in many different senses, but also means “of course” - a phrase that’s used to put a person at ease; a sentiment that permeates the style of service and dining we believe in.
Claro is where New York and Oaxaca meet – the result of chef T.J. Steele’s long-time love for Oaxacan food and culture, in partnership with restaurateur J.T. Stewart.
In 2017 Steele and Stewart teamed up, and right away - despite the moments of confusion when a J.T. teams up with a T.J. - they knew they’d created something special. They combined Steele’s cooking with Stewart’s design and construction background to create Claro, in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
In his many years of living part-time in Oaxaca, Steele cultivated relationships with craftsmen, artists, mezcaleros, cooks and farmers throughout the region. He still visits them regularly and sources the corn for Claro's menu from farms that hand-pick non-GMO heirloom (criollo) varieties. The restaurant is dedicated to making everything by hand, including the masa, cheeses, chorizo and moles. All the meat and produce is organic and sourced locally when possible.
The Oaxacan soul of Claro extends beyond the food and mezcal. We called on Steele’s friends to add personal touches to all corners of the restaurant. The bar tiles were designed by internationally acclaimed Oaxacan artists Francisco Toledo and Dr. Lakra, who designed the Claro logo and painted the murals. Steele's neighbor in Oaxaca, Daniel Salazar, created the woodcut prints. The dinnerware is handmade by Francisco Martínez Alarzón of Santa María Atzompa, with clay that can only be acquired by birthright.
Diners in the backyard have a front row seat to tortillas being pressed, and tlayudas, memelas and tostadas cooking on the wood-fired comal, all reflecting the atmosphere Steele and Stewart wanted to create.