Thursday, March 07, 2013

IO by Playground (Santa Ana, CA)

Invitation Only at Playground 2.0
220 E 4th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701
www.playgrounddtsa.com
Thu 03/07/2013, 07:00p-10:15p




Playground 2.0 Exterior

Since debuting in November 2011, Playground has firmly established itself at the forefront of the Orange County dining scene, earning legions of followers in the process. As sharp as Chef Jason Quinn's cooking is, though, there was just something more that he wanted. He dreamed of a place where he could truly celebrate his obsessively-sourced, often times scarce ingredients, an intimate venue where the bounds of cost, complexity, and time go out the window. His vision has been realized in the form of IO, an invitation-only dining series held sporadically at 2.0, a "culinary theater" of sorts situated right next door to the main restaurant (the space is also used for private dinners, pop-ups, cooking classes, and other special events).

Playground 2.0 Interior
Inside, you'll find an intimate room housing 17 seats surrounding a well-equipped exhibition kitchen. There's only one seating per night, which starts promptly at 7:00 (and I mean promptly--we arrived at 7:02 and people were already eating). The roughly 30-course omakase-style degustation will set you back $250 per head (inclusive of food, drink, tax, and tip), and tickets must be purchased in advance.

WATER & LEMON
1: WATER & LEMON
Tonight's menu, entitled "When the Dog Bites and the Bee Stings," started off with a seemingly innocuous goblet of water with lemon. It held a stealthy secret though: the lemon was actually a Lemon Drop in jellified form, an admixture of vodka, lemon juice, and sugar that left a boozy, acerbic imprint on the palate.

Introductions
Chef Quinn then introduced the team and gave us a brief spiel on what IO is all about.

PASSION FRUIT WELCOME
2: PASSION FRUIT WELCOME | vanilla custard
Serving as an amuse bouche of sorts, the spoon deftly played the tart, tangy passionfruit against the tempering effect of the vanilla.

Playing with Liquid Nitrogen
The kitchen having some fun with the liquid nitrogen used in our next course.

NITRO JAPANESE BABY PEACH CAIPIRINHA
3: NITRO JAPANESE BABY PEACH CAIPIRINHA
A liquid nitrogen-laced caipirinha showed off all the boozy, sweet, and sour notes of the classic cocktail, but in a creamy, dense, lush form, capped off by an absolutely delightful momo chan baby peach at the bottom.

BLOODY OYSTER
4: BLOODY OYSTER | beet juice fed kushii, beet mignonette, horseradish tapioca, fresh lemon
Next was arguably the most ambitious preparation of oyster that I'd ever experienced. Quinn procured some Kusshis, then, after some experimentation, kept them alive in a mixture of salt water and beet juice. As a result, not only were the oysters dyed a brilliant magenta, they were postively imbued with the sweetness of the root vegetable, which served as a fantastic counterpoint to the salinity of the bivalves. I loved the textural component from the tapioca as well.

JIDORI OYSTER
5: JIDORI OYSTER | a tribute to Uncle Lou
Quinn presented an homage to Memphis' legendary Uncle Lou's with this marvelous Jidori chicken oyster (a version of the dish made with regular parts is available at the main restaurant). The oyster is a prized part of the bird near the top of the thigh, one renowned for its firm, satisfying consistency and taste. Here, it was perfectly done, wonderfully crisp, and with boatloads of chicken-y savor balanced by a marked vinegar-y tang. I'd love a bucket of the stuff!

Magic Napkin
A napkin to wipe our fingers with: just add water (last seen at Baumé).

JASON'S FAVORITE INGREDIENT
6: JASON'S FAVORITE INGREDIENT | paletta iberico de bellota
Ah ibérico de bellota paleta--can't go wrong with this. Strictly speaking, it's not the same as the more popular jamón, but rather, a similar cut from the front legs of the pata negra. It was just as tasty though: fatty and slick, with a rich, nutty flavor that's always satisfying.

CHAMPAGNE & CAVIAR
7: CHAMPAGNE & CAVIAR | rio frio caviar
Chef Carson then presented one of his signature dishes, the "Champagne & Caviar" that I'd first had over at AnQi. It was lighter, and better balanced than I remember, with the sweetness of the geleé transitioning beautifully to the salty jolt of the Spanish caviar. Whimsical.

CANARY ISLAND OCTOPUS CEVICHE
8: CANARY ISLAND OCTOPUS CEVICHE | golden truffle sauce, red onion, tortilla
LARMANDIER-BERNIER TRADITION PREMIER CRU CHAMPAGNE
Quinn mentioned that his favorite octopus in the world comes from the Canary Islands, and I can't say that I disagree. The cephalopod was cooked to a super tender consistency here, and worked flawlessly against the spicy, herbaceous notes in the bite. Loved the contrasting crunch of tortilla chip, too. I wouldn't have minded several more of these to munch on.

Sake Time
Rhett Butler works as Playground's sommelier, and also serves as host for IO. Here, he talks to us about our next sake pairing.

Geoduck Fun Mirugai
Jason having way too much fun with the geoduck.

LIVE GEODUCK CLAM
9: LIVE GEODUCK CLAM | Yuzu Koshu
YUKI NO BOSHA "CABIN IN THE SNOW" JUNMAI GINJO SAKE
All joking aside though, this was some damn good mirugai. Served simply with yuzukosho, lemon, and Maldon sea salt, the clam showed off a gorgeous crunchiness, and its brine was perfectly moderated by the spicy, salty, and sour nuances present. Flawless.

Shucking Scallop Scallop Ate a Fish Grating Wasabi
Here, Chef Quinn dispatches some sizeable live scallops, several of which had apparently feasted on small fish prior to being captured (as shown in the second photo). In the third photo, note the grating of real wasabi using an oroshigane.

LIVE SCALLOP
10: LIVE SCALLOP | olive oil, lemon, beautiful soy, wasabi
YUKI NO BOSHA "CABIN IN THE SNOW" JUNMAI GINJO SAKE
The aforementioned scallops--so fresh, so clean--were presented on a platter meant for sharing, and were accompanied by flavors that highlighted the inherent nuances of the mollusk without overpowering them. I was especially fond of that wasabi.

Most Expensive Soy Sauce
Quinn showed us the shoyu used in the course above, which is supposedly some of the best soy sauce around.

KANPACHI
11: KANPACHI | pickled ginger, lime, fish sauce, jalapeño, masago
YUKI NO BOSHA "CABIN IN THE SNOW" JUNMAI GINJO SAKE
The scallop was followed by another shared plate, this one filled with glistening pink slices of amberjack. The fish was firm to the bite, with a fresh, clean taste augmented by the weight of the fish sauce, all while the ginger added a great, tangy counterpoint to the course. Loved the savory crunch of those little rice crackers, too.


12: JICAMA WRAPPED LIVE SEA URCHIN | toasted coconut, macadamia, avo mousse, compressed cucumber
YUKI NO BOSHA "CABIN IN THE SNOW" JUNMAI GINJO SAKE
"Tacos" of jicama-wrapped uni conveyed the bright, juicy snap of the root vegetable initially, while the nutty crunch of the macadamia arrived later on the palate, before the bite finally finished with a touch of sweet salinity. I would've liked the sea urchin to have been a bit more dominant here though.

500 DEGREE SHRIMP COCKTAIL Spot Prawn
13: 500 DEGREE SHRIMP COCKTAIL | lime, horseradish, tomato
DUCATO/DRIE FONTEINEN BEERSEL MATTINA
In our most "hands-on" course, spot prawns were cooked in 500-degree salt (a preparation perhaps popularized by Providence) and presented beautifully with a housemade "cocktail sauce." I first tucked into the tail portion of the shrimp, and it was spot on, with a snappy, slightly rare texture and mild relish that paired swimmingly with the salty globules of roe still present. The head (gotta suck the head!), meanwhile, was a must-try as well, with a sharp ocean-y character to it that went well with the crustacean's salty crust.

DOUBLE DOUBLE
14: DOUBLE DOUBLE | fuck you
DUCATO/DRIE FONTEINEN BEERSEL MATTINA
A reimagined Double-Double, courtesy of Chef Carson, really captured the essence of the original, with the meatiness of the "patty" working in unison with the crisp veggies and the overarching "secret sauce."

FRIED GEODUCK BELLY
15: FRIED GEODUCK BELLY | lemon-caper-shallot aioli
2011 GROTTA DEL SOLE- GRAGNANO DELLA PENISOLA SORRENTINA DOC
While the trunk of the geoduck was presented above, the belly of the beast was served later in the meal on a passed plate. Fried into golden fritters of goodness, the clam was fantastic--tender and savory, with a superb complement in the form of that tangy aioli. And yes, a comparison to the Filet-O-Fish was even tossed around.

OTOKOMAE & O TORO ACTING ITALIAN
16: OTOKOMAE & O TORO ACTING ITALIAN | o toro prosciutto, fancy olive oil, 25 year balsamic
2011 GROTTA DEL SOLE- GRAGNANO DELLA PENISOLA SORRENTINA DOC
Here, the kitchen riffed on the classic pairing of mozzarella and prosciutto, using instead tofu from Kyoto producer Otokomae and homemade two-week cured otoro "ham." The result was a harmony of sweet 'n' sour flavors on the attack, transitioning on the midpalate to the fishy aromatics of the tuna, all while the tofu served as a tempering base to the bite.

BONE MARROW SFORMATO
17: BONE MARROW SFORMATO | iberico de bellota chorizo marmalade, tyler's sourdough mini boules, truffle salt
2011 GROTTA DEL SOLE- GRAGNANO DELLA PENISOLA SORRENTINA DOC
A sformato is basically like a set custard or dense soufflé, and the version here came bearing the heady flavors of bone marrow. Taken alone, it was fairly subdued, so the key was to pair it with that marvelous chorizo jam, which added a confluence of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors that brought everything together. The housemade bread, meanwhile, did well in tempering the intensity of the dish and also provided body and substance.

Rational Combi-Oven
Steam pours out of the pricey (as in the same range as a base model Nissan Altima) Rational combi-oven. Hmmm, what could possibly be cooking?

FORBIDDEN STEAM BUN
18: FORBIDDEN STEAM BUN | foie gras torchon, apricot hoisin, sugar crunch
MIKKELLER FUNKY E SAUTERNES BARREL EDITION
Next, diners were given the option of a complementary course of Hudson Valley foie gras. The torchon was classic at its core, conveying a restrained earthiness from the liver that made absolute sense with the sweet and savory flavors of the apricot-hoisin. Maldon added pricks of saltiness to the fray, while the fluffy bun contrasted the potency of the course. I miss foie.

JIDORI CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE
19: JIDORI CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE | iberico de bellota bacon, port shallots, frisée, garlic croutons
MIKKELLER FUNKY E SAUTERNES BARREL EDITION
The chicken liver managed to be a table favorite of sorts, and for good reason. It was a pretty much flawless presentation of the mousse, which really showed off the gravity of the liver without being heavy-handed. The bacon was key in adding hits of salt to the dish, and the shallots sweetness, while the frisée was even more important, imparting a crucial touch of levity to the course. I also appreciated the croutons as well, which mixed things up texturally (I'm big on crunch).

ROMESCO ROMANESCO
20: ROMESCO ROMANESCO | red walnuts, sultanas, capers
2011 BIRICHINO MALVASIA BIANCA
Romanesco is a form of cauliflower known for its striking fractal patterns, though taste wise, it was fairly similar to the standard vegetable. The genius here, thus, was in the romesco and other accoutrements, which, in concert, provided a multifaceted array of spicy, nutty, and sweet flavors that took the romanesco to another level.

FROST KISSED ARTICHOKE CARPACCIO
21: FROST KISSED ARTICHOKE CARPACCIO | kalamata olive, calabrian chile gummies, crispy parmesan, charred scallion-artichoke purée, meyer lemon
2011 BIRICHINO MALVASIA BIANCA
We had here an unabashedly unique preparation of artichoke, in which the bud is frozen then allowed to rot, in the process condensing and amplifying its flavor--dry aging in effect. The plant is then confit'd in olive oil and presented shaved thin. The end result is a concentrated burst of artichoke-y flavor, focused yet not clumsy, and especially tasty when paired with the weight of the Parmesan cheese and Calabrian chili present.

Turbot in Hand Mortar & Pestle Tearing into Turbot
Quinn goes to work on the fantastic turbot course and its accompanying mortar 'n' pestle mojo.

WHOLE SPANISH TURBOT A LA PLANCHA
22: WHOLE SPANISH TURBOT A LA PLANCHA | perfect blumenthals, mojo verde
2011 BIRICHINO MALVASIA BIANCA
And now we come to probably my favorite course of the meal, and most likely the strongest preparation of turbot I've had to date. The fish was cooked whole, and showed off a consistency that was quite unlike that of any other version I've experienced. The flesh was almost slightly rare, with a slick, delicate bite and restrained savor that worked beautifully with the zestiness of the accompanying mojo verde (a sauce oft seen with Canarian papas arrugadas). Finishing things off were some Heston Blumenthal-inspired potatoes that really were perfect: magnificently crunchy out the outside, yet with soft, pillow-y interiors and a mouth-watering kick of salt.

VERY WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO
23: VERY WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO | hedgehog, baby kings, abalone, yellow foot, black trumpet, persimmon
2010 PUZELAT-BONNHOMME "IN COT WE TRUST" MALBEC
We saw Max Hirsch back there working on something on the flat top for a good half-an-hour or so, and the result was this made-from-scratch risotto. It must be pointed out that the dish is rarely made this way in restaurants, but is instead prepared ahead of time: par-cooked, refrigerated, and then finished when necessary. It was a commendable risotto, with the earthy, nutty weight of the various ingredients proudly displayed, while the texture on the rice was properly firm, the whole course having a very pleasing "crunchiness" to it.

LAMB PORTERHOUSE ROLL
24: LAMB PORTERHOUSE ROLL | hatch chile, cumin, fancy cut baby veg, lime butter
2010 PUZELAT-BONNHOMME "IN COT WE TRUST" MALBEC
Chef Quinn described this next course as a "porterhouse porchetta" of New Zealand lamb, basically a preparation in which tenderloin is wrapped in belly and cooked. The meat was delicious, tender to the bite, with a wonderfully savory crust and a luxurious ovine relish. However, the smoky Hatch chile was too potent here, overwhelming and masking the lamb somewhat, though I did appreciate the lightness and crunch of the turnip and carrot.

Some Super Marbled Kobe Beef Wagyu Beef Certificate of Authenticity
The Chef took a moment to show off some über-marbled wagyu beef, from Kobe Prefecture, along with its accompanying certificate. I think that this was the first time in my experience that the oft-misused phrase "Kobe beef" would actually be appropriate.

A5+ KOBE BEEF NEW YORK STRIP LOIN Yorkshire Pudding
25: A5+ KOBE BEEF NEW YORK STRIP LOIN | kobe fat -parmesan yorkshire pudding
2010 ERIC TEXIER, ST. JULIEN EN ST. ALBAN SYRAH
The evening's pièce de résistance was undoubtedly the beef, and what beef! It was everything that you'd expect from a proper wagyu steak: lush and luxurious, super tender, and practically oozing fat upon mastication. The melt-in-your-mouth strip loin displayed a rather profound depth to it, and was made even better by the countervailing astringency of its charred crust. The meat easily stood alone without any accompaniments, though the paired Yorkshire pudding was a nice touch, a homey sort of side that I found quite comforting.

FINCA PASCUELETE QUESO DE TORTA SINCE 1232
26: FINCA PASCUELETE QUESO DE TORTA SINCE 1232 | blackberries stewed with black pepper, 3 day el bulli pistachios, toast
2010 ERIC TEXIER, ST. JULIEN EN ST. ALBAN SYRAH
Our cheese course was masterful, one of the best I can remember in fact. The key was the use of Finca Pascualete, an unpasteurized Spanish sheep's milk cheese that was wonderfully creamy and smooth, with a fantastic funk to it and just a touch of herbaceousness. I adored the queso alone, but the combination of the berries and pistachio took it over the top, providing a blend of sweet, nutty flavors that worked flawlessly against the pungency of the cheese.

CUCUMBER LIME BLAST
27: CUCUMBER LIME BLAST
A palate cleanser before dessert brought a shot of cucumber and lime, the cool, refreshing, vegetal jolt of the former leading to the latter's strong, sour finish.

SUMO TANGERINE
28: SUMO TANGERINE | olive oil ice cream
The first dessert comprised octagonal cuts of Sumo tangerine with olive oil, olive oil ice cream, and isomalt glass. The sweet, juicy citrus paired well enough with the olive oil ice cream, but I swear there must've been salt sprinkled on top or something, because the course veered overly savory for me.

Rhett Butler & Fernet Branca
Here, Rhett Butler presents Fernet Branca, humorously referred to around these parts as "Magic Juice," which was meant to serve as a sort of digestif.

LIME CURD
29: LIME CURD | blueberries, graham, mouth sex
SIETE LEGUAS ANEJO TEQUILA
More successful was a jar of lime curd, its puckering tartness a fitting foil to the sugary berries, all while the graham cracker crumbles offered up a sweet textural element. The whipped cream (mouth sex?) provided a nice overarching levity to things as well. Pie-like.

Ashley Guzman & iSi
For our final course, Ashley Guzman unleashes the contents of her iSi canister into a liquid nitrogen bath.

CHOCOLATE PISTACHIO TERRINE
30: CHOCOLATE PISTACHIO TERRINE | nitro-dome, chocolate mousse, feullitine
MAGIC JUICE
The dinner ended on a high note thanks to a terrine of pistachio and chocolate, a delectable amalgam of sugary and nutty flavors that was beautifully highlighted by the crunchy bits of feullitine tossed into the mix. The "nitro-dome," meanwhile, was a fun addition, an uncommonly light, almost ethereal sphere of creamy goodness that imparted a palpable levity to the dessert.

Slicing Beef Kobe Beef
At the end of the night, one of my dining companions requested to take home some of the real deal Kobe beef, and Chef Quinn obliged, cutting off a couple pieces of the strip loin and vacuum sealing them. The cost? A not unreasonable $240.

Emily McMichael, Max Hirsch, Ashley Guzman, Jason Quinn, Ryan Carson, Rhett Butler
The IO by Playground team (left to right): Emily McMichael, Max Hirsch, Ashley Guzman, Jason Quinn, Ryan Carson, Rhett Butler.

I applaud what Chef Quinn and company are doing. It's obvious that the kitchen respects and celebrates the best-in-class ingredients that they're working with, and the cooking here embraces and highlights these products, using just enough technique in an attempt to bring our their best facets. The result is food that's simultaneously refined, yet casual, with a flashes of irreverence, rashness, and whimsy that's just what I expected from this crew. In fact, I was reminded of a less-modernist, more homegrown version of é by José Andrés, and indeed, when confronted with this thought, the Chef admitted that the restaurant was an inspiration. The Playground team has created something special here, but also something necessarily exclusive, which will infuriate some. Nonetheless, the food, the wine, the service, everything came together in stellar fashion tonight--an experience to behold. Not to be hyperbolic, but IO is the likely the most ambitious, and best restaurant that Orange County has ever seen.

31 Comments:

Anonymous JG said...

Stunning food!

Saturday, March 09, 2013 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous J.C. said...

did you really mean to call #14 "fuck you?"

Surely that was a typo of some sort!

Much of the meal sounds wonderful - I wish I could try it one night.

Saturday, March 09, 2013 1:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Between the geoduck humor and the puree on the artichoke plate that looked like the, ahem, geoduck, I too was wondering about the "fuck you" item in here.

Saturday, March 09, 2013 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

JG: Indeed. Stunning experience, too.

JC, Anon: No, that was actually how it was written on the menu they emailed out later that night. There's that irreverence I was talking about. ;)

Saturday, March 09, 2013 6:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect, it looks like a bunch of smoke and mirrors, no actual cooking taking place. Fancy eqiupment, lots of chemicals and expensive ingredients. No soul behind the food. Way too influenced by modern cook books. There's no identity or originality taking place. Why do what's already been done unless you're going to do it better?

Sunday, March 10, 2013 4:09:00 AM  
Blogger Stanton Waide said...

That was a great read once in a lifetime meal I own a couple of restaurants in NYC and loved the way this read.

Let me know when you are here and we could do the same tasting here.

Stanton

Sunday, March 10, 2013 9:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason Quinn is a fucking joke, he recently got smoked on chopped by Cole from ink. Anyone that knows this guy and his history (only kitchen job ever held was on a food truck his mommy bought him) would quickly recognize that "I.O." is 100% the brainchild and work of chef Ryan Carson who's actually worked at some good restaurants.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching Jason cook is like watching a monkey fuck a football, no? He's lucky to have the money to hire people that can actually cook since it'd be embarrassing to be following a recipe out of a cookbook in an open kitchen.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Darren Boyle said...

Great review. I can't wait to experience this.

Anyone that posts negative comments as anonymous should just simply be ignored. If you have something to say, show some character and stand by your words by including your name.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 6:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Jason Quinn said...

Anon,

You are correct, I have never worked under people that inspired me. I did not fit in at any stage I did. I lied my way into a job on the line, gave it my all, and did not learn what I was hoping for.

A friend contacted me about starting a food truck, it cost 6000 dollars each to get open, I went for it, because I'm not afraid of failure. I got lucky, that's no secret. And although my training is nonexistent, I figured it out on my own.

If you think you're better, come to 2.0 and challenge me. Your terms

Jason Quinn
949 292 6282

Sunday, March 10, 2013 9:38:00 PM  
Blogger Sam C. said...

*sigh*...it's fun food like these that makes me miss So Cal....

Thanks for the post dude! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foie Gras...thought that was banned?

Monday, March 11, 2013 1:00:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Stroh said...

I love Jason hahahaha, he posts his phone number and submits the challenge to some bitch ass hater hiding behind an anonymous post. Classic!

Monday, March 11, 2013 2:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Jesse Saunders said...

Amazing food and an amazing atmosphere as well (Chad, Kevin, and Ryan are a fun crowd). After frequenting The Playground, I feel lucky that i got to experience IO. It is one of those rare moments where you can see someones hard work really come to life in front of you.

Jason and all the chefs did an amazing job, he has put together an amazing team, and the proof is on the plate! I have had no shortage of experience at fine dining establishments but when the food is as good as this, there is no need to reinvent anything!
If you would've asked anyone 2 years ago, they would have called Chef Quinn insane for opening up a restaurant like this, let alone in DTSA, but maybe that is what makes him great, maybe never having someone tell him what is and isn't possible, is the reason why The Playground, 1 and 2.0 keep coming out with amazing dishes.

Bravo! I cannot wait to come back!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 2:07:00 AM  
Blogger Charlie Fu said...

Going to playground on Friday with my burgundy crew, IO looks very interesting. Too bad I don't care for drink pairings =(

Since Jason posted on here, any chance to do this meal without drink pairings?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. two cooks that walked out of ink. lol.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 1:34:00 AM  
Blogger Micah Zehnder said...

How does one score invites to this? I love Playground...frequent their coffee supplier (Portola) and am sad i haven't been invited =(

Thursday, March 14, 2013 5:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Roberto said...

Its nice to see young cooks doing fun stuff like this, I give you lots of props man, keep up the good ideas, I am 25 and I been cooking at very high end places for 3 years now and all I see here inspiration to soon be able to cook my own thoughts... Great work cheers

Friday, March 15, 2013 2:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm, I'm confused! Max Hirsch got hired as a chef for this gig? He could barely shuck an oyster in fact sliced his hand open twice whilst attempting . I don't think i'd trust eating the food , there's probably bits of mr.Hirsch in there. Not a hater just stating facts.

Monday, March 18, 2013 2:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ignorant fuck.

Monday, March 18, 2013 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon oyster shucker-the only guy here with genuine talent and experience would be Carson who's reputation is known in socal. The others don't seem to have spent much time in any quality kitchens.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 3:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on people this is bullshit , a restaurant that copy other people's work ( el bulli , David Chang , Jose andres ) is not a real restaurant !!! Also who the fuck charges $250 for s stupid tasting menu in Santa Ana ???? Those are Thomas Keller prices for shitty ass food made by rookies .

Monday, March 25, 2013 12:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Ryan Carson said...

Come on people this is bullshit , a restaurant that copy other people's work ( el bulli , David Chang , Jose andres ) is not a real restaurant !!! Also who the fuck charges $250 for s stupid tasting menu in Santa Ana ???? Those are Thomas Keller prices for shitty ass food made by rookies .
To all of the Annon bitches;
First off, you're a bitch for hiding behind the anonymous name. If you have something to say then show your name so all can see who the jealous fuck is. Second off, learn your grammar you illiterate fuck. If you're going to insult us, at least do it with an education. Third; you call us rookies when I have been a chef probably longer than you have even thought about cooking. Shit, I have probably worked an egg station that lasts your entire career you dumb fuck. Yeah that's right 16 years this year. I've been running successful restaurants with great food for a very long time in LA and SF. Who the fuck are you? You've probably worked for me or one of my colleagues that kicked your ass to the curb because you thought you were better than you really are. Jason is the revitalizing light for Orange County and if you don't believe that then why the fuck have we already opened our second restaurant, which is sold out for months, with a third restaurant in the works within the next couple of months. Ashley has worked at numerous Michelin star restaurants and her deserts fuck yours in the ass. Max may be new but he has a passion unlike any other that is coupled with his fierce competition. He will be a better chef than you are in 5 years. Hell, Jason will be a better chef than all of us in 10 years. Just remember that when you're jobless looking for the next best thing, I would rather you burn on fire than help you by pissing on you to ease the burning pain. If you'd like to make it a professional battle then contact me at ryan@playgrounddtsa.com for a versus pop up against anyone of us. Preferably me so I can beat you in cooking and then kick your ass peckerwood style. But, if you'd like to make it personal my phone number is (909)576-9210. I also hang out in downtown fullerton quite often so if you feel the need to settle it then come on down you no talent ass clown. I'll punch your teeth down your throat no problems.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 2:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I taking into account the speed of light when factoring how successful of a chef Jason Quinn will be in 10 years? Revitalizing light? C'mon.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 4:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan said...

Great pictorial of a fabulous menu and experience at IO. We enjoyed a different night from when these photos were taken, but pics took me right back to that fabulous night! Jason's culinary talents and knowledge...amazing. And the talent he surrounds himself with at Playground and 2.0- awesome as well. As for 'anonymous' why waste your time posting anything because no one can take you serious posting such nonsense in such a jealous and cowardly fashion. Kudos to Jason and Ryan for calling 'anon' out, but he's not influencing me and I'm sure he's not influencing any intelligent people!

Monday, April 08, 2013 12:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Dianne said...

I would just like to say that I love your blog, I have read almost every post. I have been cooking for thirty years and have eaten at my fair share of great restaurants. I absolutely love your photographs. All that being said, I would like to suggest that Ryan Carson take down his comment, it doesn't reflect well on him or his restaurant in the least. I'm no blushing virgin but his language and threats of violence are unprofessional and suggest a short fuse and lack of self-control unbefitting a professional chef of a restaurant of high caliber. Just a friendly suggestion. Best wishes Kevin and happy eating.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 9:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan said...

@Dianne, while Ryan's comments possibly could have been a little less severe, how about considering how frustrating it is to have an anonymous hater making unjustified and obnoxious remarks on something that Jason and The Playground crew have poured their hearts and souls into. Online websites and comments can be a great thing if utilized correctly but there are too many idiots out there that think are somebody special or better. I'm sure if there was any constructive criticism or suggestions, anyone in any business would be welcome to listen.

Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan said...

sorry- *if there were any

Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Would have loved to been there.

The guy's got some serious passion that you don't see a lot out here Orange County, and I still stand in that Playground ranks in my top meal in OC.

Sunday, April 14, 2013 7:02:00 PM  
OpenID suljagirl said...

Kevin! I just went this past Friday and LOVED it!! The BEST MEAL of my life, so far. It was a fabulous experience :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Andy Gavin said...

I just ate here last weekend (my photo review is here). Pretty incredible -- particularly for the O.C. Whacky, fun, really really good. Like E on a speed and acid blend!

Friday, June 14, 2013 7:53:00 AM  

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