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“LOVE THIS PLACE”

Detention, formerly known as Playground
Ranked #1 of 714 Restaurants in Santa Ana
Price range: US$30 - US$50
Cuisines: American, International, Gastropub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Spurgeon
Description: Detention is what happens when you get in trouble on the Playground. As Playground we were professional mistake-makers. At Detention our decisions are a little more deliberate, but not necessarily risk free. Chef John Parker heads the culinary team. But the chefs aren't our only creative types. Jarred Dooley, our Director of Libations since we opened in 2011, has developed a craft cocktail program that has once earned him the title Orange County Bartender of the Year. As Playground we were once awarded the title of Orange County's Best Bar and we are committed to earning that title every year in our new rendition. Our new year's renovations have turned our original dining room into a very cozy lounge where you can wait for your table or enjoy a great cocktail to begin or end your evening out or enjoy our one-of-a-kind Omakase Cocktail Service. We'll be open late, so come by and see us.
Reviewed 8 September 2020

Great place, amazing food and sweet location! A must try is the fig cake, so yummy. I used to come for the meat and now became a vegetarian.. but highly recommend this place for families and friends!

Date of visit: March 2020
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1  Thank Bremio
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviews (233)
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2 - 6 of 233 reviews

Reviewed 26 February 2020

I read and hear so much great views of The Playground ,may be my expectations too high , ,I will tell it like it is ,the place is over rated , it is very creative concept , ,the restaurant is very modern and noisy ,,just a hipster place ,menu is unique ,change every hours or day ., most dishes are a Tapas style , very small portions ,but is for sharing , for 4 people ,order not more them five dishes ,it is very different style of my likening ,their coking is based on balanced of ASIAN ingredients and sauce ,not thing spectacular ,that's why the cooks would not let you change the dishes or add or sub any your flavour items , ,very average cooking ,some dishes hit and miss ,very salty ,but still it is a unforgettable dinning experience ,professional staff , if you in Orange County ,go give it try ,reservations must ,also they closed on Monday .

Date of visit: February 2020
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Thank tony l
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 18 February 2020

-AMAZING for vegetarians!
-SPECTACULAR service!
-VERY competitively-priced wine list!
-Jason Quinn is without a doubt one of the greatest chefs in North America.

We have come to Playground on multiple occasions. Everything - literally, everything - is top-notch.

The food is consistently incredible. There are oftentimes more vegetarian items on the menu than non-vegetarian items. Everything we have ever ordered has been excellent. The service is fantastic as well. And the dining room staff is always excellent and very well-informed. Case in point - some of the dishes we initially thought were vegetarian contained chicken stock or fish stock. The wait staff proactively reviewed the ingredient list and reported back to us without us even having to ask.

That is only about the food. There is also the wine. The wine list here is absolutely incredible. It includes some very unique wines from multiple regions both in the USA and elsewhere. But it's not just the quality of wines that sets Playground apart - it is also the pricing. PLAYGROUND IS THE ONLY RESTAURANT I HAVE EVER SEEN IN WHICH THEY SOMETIMES PRICE THE WINES AT BELOW RETAIL COST. Yes, you read that correctly. Some of the wine bottles here have prices that are lower than what one would find at a grocery store. The other wine bottles also do not have the standard 300% mark-up one would find at a restaurant. I once asked the sommelier about this. His response to me was, "If we get a good deal, then you get a good deal." It is really incredible how customer-centric this place is. Playground has free corkage for 1 bottle. I make it a point to never take advantage of that. Their wine list is incredible as it is. And, as a matter of principle, I absolutely want to support an establishment that competitively prices its wines. To be candid, I am actually rather surprised that more people don't come here for the wine. The beer and spirits menus are also incredible.

The vibe is also quite relaxed. Jeans and t-shirts are perfectly okay attire, which is nice.

This is our all-time favorite restaurant. When we last came here, we drove 2 hours in traffic from north of Los Angeles so we could eat here.

Best wishes to:
-Jason Quinn, the founder and executive chef
-Angela on her promotion
-Steve, who recently got accepted into a graduate program
-Josh, the former sommelier on accepting a new position in Laguna Beach
-Jason, the new sommelier, on his new job at Playground

We will most emphatically be returning to Playground at every chance we get.

In case anyone is wondering - I do not work at Playground. I have never worked at Playground. Other than me being a customer, I have absolutely no relationship with anyone who works at Playground. I am writing this extensive of a review because I honestly think that this is one of the greatest restaurants I have ever visited. Playground is worthy of Michelin stars (albeit the selfish part of me hopes Playground never gets any Michelin stars because then it will become much harder for me to get dinner reservations!)

Date of visit: February 2020
    • Value
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2  Thank E B
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 1 January 2020 via mobile

If you want to try a variety of dishes which have flavors that explode in your mouth, visit Playground.

The Grilled Pork Jowl deserves an A++. The yams, cauliflower, and okra deserve an A. The beverage, Best Bartender 2013, also deserves an A.

The portion size is similar to tapas and are meant to be shared. Next time, we will order one dish at a time. Then when it is delivered, we will order the next selection. I say this because the dishes are prepared quickly and brought to the table immediately.

Our family can’t wait to return.

Date of visit: December 2019
2  Thank BKC2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 22 December 2019 via mobile

Amazing food great service. This is old part of Santa Ana with bunch of other restaurant. Pork belly was amazing but the menu changes everyday.

Date of visit: December 2019
Thank Rakesh A
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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