Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dinner at a Playground

The Playground DTSA
220 E. 4th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701

  My wife and I have been dying to go to The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana ever since we heard of its opening. Chef Jason from the Lime Truck started The Playground with his winnings from The Great Food Truck Race season two which aired on The Food Network. Damn I am glad he did because this was one of the best food experiences I have had in a long time. But be prepared to pay and make sure you have reservations in advance. My wife and I got really lucky, and were able to sit at the side of the bar, which is first come, first serve. As for the food my wife ordered the wagyu ribeye lomo saltado, I ordered the maple glazed pork chop and we shared an order of hand cut french fries with sweet onion dipping sauce and a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. With drinks and a tip this was $80.

  The hand cut french fires came first. The fries were small which meant they cooked up crisp and crunchy. The fries were covered in sea slat and fresh ground pepper. The sweet onion dipping sauce was the perfect compliment to these fries. The sauce it self was like a well made onion dip with a hint maple syrup in it. I really enjoyed these little french fries and continued to munch on them through out our meal.

  There was no way my wife was going to order wagyu ribeye lomo saltado and I was not going to steal multiple bites. This was the best lomo saltado I have to date. The wagyu ribeye was sliced in bite sized pieces. The beef was tender, flavorful and juicy. I believe the same fries we got as a starter were also used in this lomo saltado. This made the dish a tad on the salty side but the spicy green sauce helped to cut through all of that salt. The freshly sauteed veggies added a slight bit if sweetness that really helped to make this a well balanced plate of food, full of flavor.

  OMG! My pork chops was huge! This was all that I was served and I needed nothing else by the time I was finished. This was a two rib pork chop that was beyond tender. If not for the size I bet it could have been cut with a fork. I did mange to catch Chef Jason for a quick moment and he told me they cook these monstrous chops at 140 degrees for two hours. Then the slap it on the flat top to get the crust and glaze them in a maple syrup. It was plain delicious. The crusty end of the chop had some kind of spice mixture that when paired with the sweet maple syrup made for a bite of pure win. A chop I would easily order again and have already recommended.

  For dessert the flourless chocolate was so rich and dense it should be called fudge. The added cream had a hint of smokey flavor to it which definitely helped to cut the richness of the cake its self. The candied macadamia nuts added a nice texture to each bite of cake. I have a sweet tooth like a mofo and even this was too much for me and I am glad my wife and I shared. An easy choice for any chocoholic.

  Looking to splurge on an amazingly good meal? Then go to The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana. The wait staff was great, the food service was surprisingly quick and the atmosphere was fun. I can not stress enough how lucky my wife and I were to actually get a seat at the sidebar so make sure to plan your visit to The Playground in advanced and I am sure you will be just as satisfied as my wife and I were. Make sure you check out The Playground web site because the menu is constantly changing.

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