Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Playground - Santa Ana, CA

The food truck craze has come a long way.  Being first a fan of The Lime Truck, we were excited to hear that chef Jason Quinn started his own B&M restaurant.  Complete with daily changing menus using fresh ingredients of the season, the restaurant has garnered many rave reviews and now we can finally contribute to that. 
-- Food ---

The Playground Burger - This burger was not on the menu but ask your server and he/she will know.  After the first bite I immediately knew - this is one of the best burgers I've ever had. The patty is medium to medium-rare, extremely tender with an incredibly rich and juicy meat flavor.  Mustard by itself is not something I have typically seen in my recent burger adventures, but in my opinion I thought the mustard sauce paired very well with the burger.   This burger is a must have if it's your first time.

Dragon Roasted Broccoli - A roasted broccoli dish that wasn't very interesting. I would pass on re-ordering this dish next time.

Roasted Sunchokes - Sliced sunchokes browned in olive oil and a unique blend of seasonings.  It's not bad. 

Modernist Fried "Brick" 1/2 Jidori Chicken with San Marzano Tomato & Peas - Although the dish is listed as a half chicken, it is not your typical rotisserie sized "half-chicken" - it's a lot smaller.  The plate holds about three pieces of chicken with a rolled blend of white and dark meats together.  The chicken is amazing and the skin is wonderfully crispy.  The chicken and the off-menu burger were the standout favorites for me. 

---  Service ---

The service was prompt and friendly.  Our server's recommendation for the half brick chicken was spot-on.  I also really like restaurants that leave the carafe water bottle at the table to serve ourselves.  When we emptied the bottle, another bottle was placed on our table - like.  

On the menu they list a "Fun Fact".  A 3% gratuity is added to all food orders to thank the chefs who work hard in cooking and preparing the food.  Not too bad, but also not really that "fun" for the customer.

--- Environment ---

The red painted walls, eccentric paintings and art pieces give a unique feel to the place.  The large board of beer and wide selection of beer taps behind the bar is also a plus.  No TV's for watching sports, just a pretty cool open seating area to hang out and enjoy your food.

--- Parking---

Metered parking wasn't a problem for Saturday dinner around 5pm.  One quarter will give you 20 minutes in the meter..  There seems to also be some free street parking in the back streets behind the restaurant.

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