Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge, helmed by Executive Chef Paige Riordan opened its doors in Rancho Mission Viejo on Monday, January 6, 2020. 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.
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 that performed all over New York called Scarlet Fever, which inspired the name of the restaurant.
“Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge is my new stage. As a choreographer, my goal was to make people feel confident, sexy, strong, and complex,” comments chef-owner Paige Riordan. “My goal with this restaurant is to elicit those same emotions in guests, through beautiful, balanced cuisine and a captivating atmosphere.”
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:
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.
About Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge
Located in Rancho Mission Viejo, Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge delivers the luxe and allure of old Hollywood through its elegant decor and inviting atmosphere. Executive chef-owner Paige Riordan masterfully blends East Coast classics with West Coast flavors. The restaurant’s beverage program boasts Speakeasy era cocktails and an all-California beer and wine list. For more information, connect with Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge on Instagram at @scarletkitchenandlounge or visit www.scarletkl.com.
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