More like a carnivore’s paradise than the local foodie’s playground if you ask me.

Ordered one of everything on the menu and at one point, all the dishes started to taste the same. Good if you’re into gamey meats since they lack the gamey taste, not so great if you’re trying to distinguish the trout from the torchon.

The Playground

220 E. 4th Street | Santa Ana, CA 92701 | (714) 560-4444
What I love about the Playground is that it derived from a gourmet foodie truck (The Lime Truck from the Great Food Truck Race/ Food Network ) and has grown to now occupy prime real estate in Downtown Santa Ana, home to hipster-ville. But what I’m still questioning is whether or not this craft beer/gourmet burger concept can withstand the test of time or if they’re better off serving OC on wheels. Check out the deets on these dishes below and let me know if you’re ready for recess y’all…

On the Menu

6oz Wagyu Tri Tip (above) with Chimichurri and Bleu Cheese Fondue
Easily one of our favorite dishes on the menu…melt-in-yo mouth tender wagyu meat with a dollop of creamy cheese…I love bleu/goat/stinky cheese so this was perfect for my palette…like dipping your tri-tip in buttery mashed potatoes…sooooo divine.
Crispy Pig Head Torchon  
If you’re anything like myself and my gal pals, you’d know that pig head is seriously where the party’s at y’all…Equal parts meat and fat, this amalgamation of the dissected combo almost feels like a crab cake without the seafood aftertaste. Super crispy on the outside, stringy pork on the inside, the jalapeno and sriracha sauce help to add that much needed spice to anything fried. A bit heavy but overall, Delish!
Cedar River Farms Prime Filet Steak Tartare
I LOVE tartare anything…the combination of mushy raw meat and crispy buttered garlic is a oralgasm in itself. Serve it up with some saucy egg yolk and you’ve got yourself a pretty perfect starter. All that’s missing is a bit of spice to kick it up some notches.
Kale with Blood Orange and Caramelized Cashews
We lalalallOVED this fresh and seasonal salad. Crispy raw kale in the sweetest tangy dressing with slivers of shaved parmesan. Tastes like it just left the farmer’s market that morning….A total HIT! We kept ordering this to calm down all the carnivorous meat action. A gal’s gotta get her greens on to keep this body in tip-top shape man.
Crispy Trout with Delicious Hash and Crazy Hollandaise
Super oily…tastes like it looks. I do loves me some white fish, however everything was fried on top of deep fried on top of buttery oil cream and then fried…technically that hollandaise wasn’t fried but it might as well have been. I almost spit this one out it was teeming with fatty oil.
Lemon Garlic Braised Rabbit 
If you’ve never had rabbit before, rest assured this one tastes JUST LIKE CHICKEN. Stringy and tender, almost like this dish belongs in a corn tortilla with some spicy pico de gallo and pickled cabbage on the side…I’d imagine a total hit in the food trucks, doesn’t translate as fine dining on the dish. Looks sloppy, tastes much better than what you see.
Pig tails with Jalapeno Crema 
Tastes like it looks…charred and oily. A total FAIL.
Brussel Sprouts
I still don’t like brussel sprouts. Maybe because the last few establishments I’ve dined in served it up just like this. Stir-fried with home-style potatoes in a cast-iron skillet. I’m not a fan of stir-fried veggies…Defeats the purpose of something healthy and hearty…If I wanted it fried, I’d eat Chinese take-out instead…at least I’d get a fortune cookie with that meal. Pass.
4oz Prime Pork Flat Iron
I like my pork thick and juicy…not flat and chewy. Totally missed the mark with this dish…Especially when they’ve got that big ol’ juicy steak on the menu and some tenderoni wagyu to go with. Not impressed in the least. Even that little chunky apple slaw couldn’t help this one. And what is that little green booger doing on my plate??…a little suspicious, non?…
Really Good BBQ Jidori Chicken Leg
That’s what they’re calling it…not me. Is it good? Yes, juicy and well seasoned. Is it my favorite thing on the menu? Chicken rarely is…kinda boring ya know?
Pork Chop with Mustard Cabbage
So scrumptious! I mean, look at her! A generous portion of tender pink chop with the perfect accompaniment. The layer of fat helps to preserve all the juices while the slightly pickled cabbage brings out the sweetness of the meat. I’d definitely order this again.
Grilled Broccolini
Not enough restaurants serve this baby up. I love that you get all the brocolli taste in a Kailan (Chinese broccoli) shape. Simple and satisfying paired with all the meats.
72 hour A9 Wagyu Beef Cheek with Coconut and Lemongrass
In theory, this citrus-flavored herb should pair perfectly with coconut milk…think Thai style curry…except that the lemongrass was barely discernible and the coconut was way too runny for my taste. A very shy and uncertain dish. What a waste of perfectly good beef cheek.
Their claim-to-fame Gourmet Burger
A blend of Wagyu and Kobe, this monstrous burger had me seeing stars after just one bite. So incredibly flavorful, juicy, tender, dripping down the side of yo’ mouth, oozing fun in a bun…At $15 a pop, this baby ain’t cheap. But split 6 ways, you’ve got yourself the perfect one bite appetizer. Scrumptious!

The Vibe

The scene is straight out of a downtown pub crawl…communal dining tables seat up to 14 peeps, perfect for Girls’ Night Out or seeing what the table next to you is ordering so you don’t have to. Over 15 beers on tap and 60+ in bottles, this “Craft Beer” craze is really picking up steam in OC.  I think we’ve got a trend in our midsts peeps.  I’m sure there’ll be more to follow.

Know Before You Go

Downtown Santa Ana is chock full of trendy eats and fun, local bars. Make a night of it and street park on Broadway for a run-down of all the happenings. Proof Bar is right around the corner and spins Hip-Hop on weekends. No cover charge can potentially make a good night great! Grab yo’ girls, grub and groove!!*
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19 Comments

  1. beautiful food porn shots
    you're making me really hungry in the middle of the night
    hope you have a wonderful weekend

    x

  2. Julie! I REALLY enjoyed this post. I am a huge lover of food (I live for cooking, literally without it I would not function properly). I love how you described each dish! I wish I had a large group of friends to dine in fancy restaurants with! I love the idea of sharing everything so you get to also try everything!

    Super sad about the beef cheek being disappointing. Normally the cheek is so delicious!!

    Excited for next Friday!

    -Nico

    http://www.SatinAndSalt.com

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