I have heard so much regarding the food & the accomplished owner of this restaurant that I just had to come here & try it out.
The dinner menu is changed daily so above is a picture of the menu of the dishes that I had tried.
Baby beets (Chile bruto, orange, tortilla, cilantro, smoked avocado mousse)
Beets were soft & sweet the orange gave this dish a slight citrus flavor. The small avocado chunks was a good touch but the tortillas didn’t do anything for this dish. The Chile bruto gave this dish a big kick after each bite but this can be a bit overwhelming.
Peruvian bay scallop (lemon curd, sweet potato, Inca corn, pickled watermelon rinds, pixie tangerine)
This dish maybe would have tasted better cold, the lemon curd completely overwhelmed this dish. The Inca corn tasted like normal corn nuts which you can buy at a gas station & did not enhance the dish in any way.
New Zealand red snapper “on the half shell” (watermelon, avocado, pomegranate, radish)
The red snapper needed to be cooked a little longer to give it a crispier texture because it was a little soggy & salty here.
Slow roasted duck breast (creole mustard glaze, creamy mustard greens, brown butter honey, bacon lardon) Duck was way too salty & so was the creamy mustard greens; the saltiness killed the other flavors on this dish. I’ve had duck at French & Chinese restaurants that beat this dish out of the water. =)
Wild mushroom chilaquiles (mole Del guero, slow egg, pickled onion, pickled carrot, queso fresco, cilantro)
Good portion of mushrooms in this dish, the mole had a slight kick & the egg gave an extra heartiness flavor. This dish would have tasted better with the darker & thicker mole but it was fun mixing up the egg in this dish.
Black mission fig sticky toffee puddingWay too rich & thick, this dessert needed ice cream to balance out the richness. After a couple of bites I had to stop because it just got way too sweet & thick for my tastes.
Very light texture but this did not taste like a panna cotta at all. The ginger was overwhelming & the cake was too citrusy.
Waiter was very nice & explained everything to us. The staff constantly kept an eye on things & made sure that our plates were cleared & cleaned in a timely manner.
Warm & modern feel to this place. RSVPs were easy to make on open table. They are a bit strict on arriving on time since they get booked so quickly.
Food wise, I’d give this place 2 stars because i think that they’re trying to reach too much/ trying too hard with their experimental concepts here that most of the dishes did not have complexity/ flavor (other than being too salty/ citrus) to their dishes. There were too many misses in the dishes that we ordered here.
I had high hopes on the food here due to all of the things that owner Jason Quinn has accomplished. But I’m sad to say that this experience has left me not wanting to try out (or even play) at Playground 2.0 because I was contemplating whether or not to try it out depending on how this experience fared.
I’ve bumped up the 2 stars to 3 due to the amazing service here but I felt that we were being rush towards the end so that they can fill up our seats for their next customers.
One gripe that I do have, is the 3% extra charge that’s automatically added, many places offer fresh ingredients & dishes without this extra charge. I do not feel that this is necessary especially since I had high expectations for this place & felt very much let down after this experience.
Tip: Free corkage here so bring in your bottles of wine.
220 E 4th St
Santa Ana, CA 92701