186 North Atchion Street
Orange, CA 92866
I'm going to get this out of the way in this first paragraph. Yes, this is a Ruby's Diner location, but it's unlike any Ruby's you've ever been to. Located in the old 1938 Santa Fe Depot building, this historic structure really houses two restaurants in one. On one side you have Ruby's, which includes their iconic burgers, shakes, and servers in their trademark red and white stripped waitress uniforms. On the other side of the building, the side they were showcasing on this evening, there is the Streamliner Lounge, which has its own menu, a full bar, and a much more adult kind of vibe. This got me very intrigued.
This Orange Depot spot had last been Cask and Cleaver but was taken over by Ruby's over five years ago. The two owners of the Streamliner Lounge gave General Manager, Rebecca Ford carte blanche to remake this space, revamp the cocktail and food menus, add a brunch menu, and pretty much change the whole atmosphere on this side of the building. The end result has been a hit with many of the train riding commuters, locals, and long time Ruby's customers.
This spacious lounge transforms you into a long ago time, with its art deco decor and furniture, music on most nights, and the nostalgic feel of trains pulling into and out of the station. I also have to give props to whoever did the soundproofing at the Streamliner Lounge, because you hardly notice that large commuter trains are passing mere feet away from this spot. The vibe here got my attention, but I was invited here to experience the new menu, so I grabbed my good friend Richard, and we tried a good portion of it. Let's see what we thought of the new fare at the Streamliner Lounge.
Since this is a lounge, after all, an adult beverage was definitely in order, and I started things off with this Berry Lemonade ($9). This adult lemonade uses Chopin Rye Vodka as a base, sweetens the glass with some lemonade and your choice of berry, I went with the blackberry option, but they also offer raspberry and blueberry as well. I enjoyed this refreshing beverage with a kick. I was afraid it was going to be too sweet, but the good amount of vodka used here really balanced this out. Richard was pretty impressed with the small, but mighty craft beer menu here, and had two of them that I can't remember off the top of my head.
I'm a sucker for tater tots, and will pretty much order them whenever I see them on a menu, and that includes these Loaded Tater Tots ($7) at the Streamliner Lounge. These nicely fried, not too greasy little barrels of potato goodness were topped with plenty of bacon, shredded cheese, green onion, and a drizzle of sour cream. Just like an Irish nacho, but in tater tot form, these impressed us, and it was hard for me to share with Richard.
Lucky for me, Richard had ordered his own starter, the Lobster Mac and Cheese ($11). Not something that you would expect to see on the menu at the Orange Depot, but this won raves from Richard. More like shells and cheese, due to the absence of macaroni, this dish had plenty of hunks of lobster included here. The cheese sauce did not overpower the richness of the lobster, and the bread crumbs added a nice textural component to this. Richard would totally get this again.
Both Richard and I wanted to give you readers of this blog a great lay of the land here at the Streamliner so we might have ordered a lot, but it was really all for you. We started things off with this Tijuana Street Dog ($9). This very beefy grilled hot dog was topped with plenty of roughly chopped onions and bell peppers, bacon, and jalapeno crema. I liked the toppings on here, even though I wished the jalapeno crema would have had more of a spicy punch to it, but the hot dog itself was of a very high quality that I imagined would be very good served with chili. Hope they read this and add a chili dog to their menu in the future.
Richard zeroed in on this Caprese Burger ($14) right away. Must be some of his Italian heritage coming through. Anyways, this burger included sliced tomato, mozzarella, a basil pesto, and sundried tomato aioli, all on a grilled ciabatta roll. This unique burger kind of missed the mark with Richard, as he felt the cheese needed to be a little more in the forefront, but he loved the inclusion of the very good pesto and tomato aioli on this. The sweet potato fries were tasty and came out hot and fresh.
I very rarely do it, but I had breakfast for dinner on this evening in honor of the Streamliner Lounge launching their brunch menu this past month. I had narrowed my selection down to the Sunrise Burger or the Hangover Omelette ($13), and as you can see from above, the omelet won out. This south of the border inspired egg dish included house marinated shredded pork, pepper jack cheese, green chilies, sour cream, black beans, and topped with plenty of avocado slices. First of all, the carnitas here really surprised with how flavorful and tender they were. They did not skimp on the meat here, and the rest of the omelet was pretty stellar as well. We are already making plans to come back for their brunch, which is offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 to 2 pm.
We were already tapped out, but when we told Rebecca that, she insisted that Richard and I finish our meal with one of their new Boozy Shakes ($9). Luckily she agreed to split it in half for us, which made this a lot more manageable. Not sure what went into this adult styled ice cream drink, but it was a sweet ending to our meal here, with a nice banana undertone and plenty of caramel, which I could not get enough of.
I have to admit I was pretty happy with the food that we experienced on this evening. Not at all what we were expecting, and many surprises, and we just scratched the surface. I have my eye on the Ribeye Melt and the Maple Glazed Salmon on my next dinner trip, while the Maple Bacon Waffle and the Southern Fried Benny are on my radar for brunch in the near future. There are many other reasons to head to the Streamliner Lounge, besides the food. Sports fans should avoid the parking fees and traffic at Angel Stadium or Honda Center, and take advantage of the express trains to both sporting venues. The Streamliner Lounge is also far enough away, but still walking distance from the sometimes hectic Plaza area of Downtown Orange. When those restaurants are packed, there's a pretty good chance that you can get right into, and have a great meal at the Streamliner. I know we'll be back for sure.
Special thanks to everyone from the Streamliner Lounge for this wonderful evening. From Managing Partner Joe Campbell to General Manager Rebecca Ford, and the rest of her staff of servers, bartenders, and everyone else we encountered on this evening, it was a pleasure to see you all being so proud of your restaurant, and it made us excited for it as well. We are honored to have been able to share your new menu launch with all of you, and also share it with all of our readers.
For more information about the Streamliner Lounge, check out their webpage here: http://www.streamlinerloungeorange.com/index.php