In February 2014, the Irvine Marriott Hotel introduced an open venue for meeting, dining, and entertaining to the Orange County scene. By name, it is called FLOE Lounge. By experience, it is a blending of high-concept interior design with advanced technology and fine art. It has a boutique hotel feel, as the décor continues the guest experience through the front desk and lobby area. The décor also reflects the OC beach feel with a natural, soft color palette inspired by sand, ocean, and driftwood.
FLOE Lounge is headed by Executive Chef Adrian Hernandez. Chef Adrian is taking advantage of the great seasonality of SoCal and local farms to bring the farm-to-table concept to visitors and business travelers alike. The mixologists use locally grown herbs from Irvine’s Tanaka Farms. The culinary team even grows their own herbs and fresh leafy produce on patio deck walls right outside the restaurant.
Let’s take a look at the menu:
Parmesan & Chile Kale Chips are made with fresh Kale harvested daily from their outdoor herb wall and served with a fresh dusting of Romano and Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes. The chips were nicely seasoned with a little spicy kick. These would be great with a drink at the bar or as a crunchy appetizer. Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Margarita Shrimp Flatbread is savory grilled flat bread topped with grilled shrimp, poblano crema and mozzarella, finished with a roasted corn relish featuring seasonally fresh corn from Tanka Farms, red and green peppers, and serrano chilies. The flavors worked really well together. The crust was just crispy enough. The shrimp was cooked to perfection. Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Summer Rolls are rice paper filled with fresh local vegetables from Chino Farms (North San Diego) including carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, mint, cilantro and mixed greens; served with a crushed peanut vinaigrette, a mixture of fresh lime, sweet chili sauce, peanut butter and peanuts. I thought the rice paper was a bit gummy. I’m used to authentic Vietnamese spring rolls where they are made and served immediately. The paper should be light and just melt in your mouth. There were also too many crisp vegetables like carrots, cucumber, and bell pepper. It needs more balance with the soft leafy vegetables. I would also offer a meat add-in like shrimp, chicken, or pork. The portion size was just right for a shared appetizer. The peanut vinaigrette was fantastic! This would work great on an Asian Chicken Salad or Asian-inspired wrap. Rating: 3/5 stars
Infused Mango Martini combines ultimate vodka, mango schnapps, and fresh mango. This cocktail was strong, but had great mango flavor. I loved the large slice of mango artfully placed inside the glass! Rating: 5/5 stars
Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka Martini combines Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and fresh cucumber. Dean and Frank would love this martini. It was very strong, yet refreshing from the cucumber. Spa meets Bar = Fun! Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Heirloom Caprese is a blend of fresh basil from their outdoor herb wall, colorful heirloom tomatoes from Tanaka farms –featuring the most vibrant varieties, Burrata Alla Panna from Di Stefano Farms in Pomona CA, and finished with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of micro basil. The tomato had a freshly-picked-from-the-garden flavor and sweetened by the sun. The burrata was creamy and luscious. I would add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to brighten the flavor. Other than that, it was perfectly executed. Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Hydro-Boston Salad features hydro-Boston lettuce, fresh Fuji apple slices tossed with white balsamic vinaigrette and topped with apple cider pickle onions. Everything tasted farm fresh – crisp apples and lettuce and bright, sweet raspberries. The dressing was creamy and worked well with the salad components. Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Heirloom Caprese and Hydro-Boston Salad were paired with Cuvaison Chardonnay 2011 Estates Grown Carneros, Napa Valley. Tasting notes: Peach aroma; flash of green apple on the palate; finishes with nutty, oak flavor which lingers. 4/5 stars
Wildflower Honey Glaze Salmon is a skinless salmon filet that is grilled and glazed with a mixture of Wild Sage Honey from Santa Barbara, key lime juice, marmalade, and melted butter topped with Corn Relish made with seasonally fresh corn from Tanaka Farms Arugula, olive oil and lemon juice. The glaze was just sweet enough not to overpower the flavor of the buttery salmon. I would definitely order it again but cooked rare. The spinach and corn worked well with the salmon adding a green and sweet balance. Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Colorado Rack of Lamb is double cut lamb rack chop, French cut, seasoned and grilled to taste served with roasted beets and their house chimichurri. This is fantastic! I would definitely order this again, but cooked to rare. The chimichurri was authentic - herby and garlicky. Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Jumbo Lump Crab Cake is fresh sweet and crisp lump crab cakes finished with fresh Papaya & Maui onions. These were “more crab, less cake”! The salsa was fresh and worked well with the crab. This would also be great as a slider option on a brioche bun with a spicy Cajun aioli. Rating: 5/5 stars
S’mores with Godiva Chocolate Sauce is a roasted marshmallow sandwiched between two house made cookies and served with a smoky Godiva chocolate sauce. I loved the summer feel with the cookies shaped like ‘rubba slippahs’! The smoky Godiva chocolate sauce is to die for! I had some extra left and sweetened my coffee with it. I know we are in SoCal but I felt a little bit of Aloha in this dessert! Rating: 5/5 stars
The S’mores was paired with Sandeman 10 year old Tawny port. It was sweet like honey but a little bit of bourbon-like flavor on the back of the palate. It paired well with the chocolate, but not with the cookie/marshmallow. French pressed coffee paired the best with the S’mores. A flourless chocolate torte would pair better with the port. Rating: 5/5 stars
Specials and Events:
- Live Music - FLOE features up-and-coming musical guests every Tuesday and Thursday evening.
- “Relaxed Happy Hour” offers half-off their “Quick Bites” menu and cocktail specials from 5pm to 6pm, as well as 3 hours of complimentary valet with Lounge validation.
- Check out their event calendar for future events
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
For more information:
FLOE Lounge (inside the Irvine Marriott Hotel)
18000 Von Karman Ave
Irvine, CA 92612
Hours: 7am to Midnight (Hours may vary, so please contact the hotel for exact hours of operation.)