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Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge Opens in Rancho Mission Viejo

Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge, helmed by Executive Chef Paige Riordan has opened its doors in Rancho Mission Viejo on Monday, January 6th. With the luxe and allure of old Hollywood, the modern speakeasy combines elevated comfort cuisine and East Coast classics balanced with West Coast ingredients and influences.

Menu item at Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge

At 2800 sq. ft., the restaurant boasts modern black and white decor with gilded trimmings and glimmering accents. A large 14ft window, which gives guests a glimpse into the exhibition-style kitchen, takes center stage in the dining room. Framed by a trio of floor-to-ceiling arched mirrors, the focal point of the restaurant is its 16-seat grey quartzite bar lined with luxurious grey velvet chairs.

An East Coast native, Riordan has cooked in some of New York’s most prestigious restaurants including Reynard at The Wythe, widely recognized for bringing farm-to-table cuisine to NYC. She attended culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, where she honed her skills in holistic, plant-based cuisine guided by whole foods and wellness.

Prior to attending culinary school, Riordan was a professional dancer and choreographer. For several years, she owned a dance company which performed all over New York called Scarlet Fever, which inspired the name of the restaurant.

Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge is a family-owned business in every sense of the word. Riordan’s husband, mother, and father are all involved in the day-to-day operations at the restaurant. Riordan is joined in the kitchen by her father Marty Manley, a former East Coast commercial fishing captain, who attended culinary school at the Art Institute of Orange County. The father-daughter duo attended their respective culinary schools simultaneously, and much like the menu at Scarlet itself creates a convergence of East Coast meets West Coast. Her husband Matt Riordan, a former finance executive, will run front-of-house operations as the restaurant’s general manager; and her mother, Anne Manley co-owner and CFO of a family-owned business on the East Coast will manage business operations including HR and financials.

The menu at Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge features family recipes and East Coast classics brought to life with the finesse and flair of West Coast farm-to-table cuisine. Stand out dishes include Liquid Gold, an over 100-year-old Riordan ragout recipe which originated in Florence, Italy; time-honored New England classics including Clam Chowder and Lobster Rolls, and a vegan Beet Tartare which celebrates the vibrancy and abundance of the California coastline.

Stand-out dishes include

Dinner at Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge

Beet Tartare – cashew crema, shallots, capers, endive, radicchio, basil

Liquid Gold – pork & lamb ragout, pappardelle

New England Lobster Rolls – Maine lobster, served chilled or warm

10oz Pan Seared New York Strip – herb butter, horseradish crema, twice-baked potato, pearl onions

Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese – grass-fed beef, Humboldt fog, sourdough

Scarlet Burger – grass-fed beef, maple bacon onion jam, Irish aged white cheddar, romaine, aioli

Reuben Tacos – slow-cooked pulled pork, sauerkraut, Irish aged white cheddar, romaine, house-made thousand island

Pulled Carrot Tacos – slow-cooked BBQ carrots, radish, avocado, red cabbage herb salad, jalapeño, house-made ranch

In addition to its East Coast meets West Coast cuisine, Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge boasts a libations program that celebrates classic speakeasy era cocktails served in elegant, vintage-style glassware as well as an all-California beer and wine list.

Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge located in Rancho Mission Viejo’s Sendero Marketplace (30865 Gateway Place) is open nightly from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays with entertainment and live music. The restaurant will expand its hours to offer weekend brunch in spring 2020.

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One Comment

  1. Dined at the Scarlet Lounge on its opening day. Ordered Beet Tartar and Filet, a Manhattan cocktail and glass of wine. Beet Tartar needs acid such as apple cider vinegar. This dish, which is a dish also served at Emerile Lagasse’s restaurant in New Orleans, is one of my favorites of all time, but was disappointingly bland at Scarlets. Steak and sides were well prepared and of high quality. Wine list and wines were excellent and fairly priced. The Manhattan cocktail was disappointing. I am not sure they knew exactly how to prepare and serve it.

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