Best Off-Menu Entrée Orange County 2013 - Playground
Eaters have known of Jason Quinn's mercurial brilliance ever since his days running the Lime Truck. And this trait—maddening to some, exhilarating to anyone who loves great food and has a life—has only escalated with his Playground in downtown SanTana. Not only does the regular menu change daily—even hourly—but the secret offerings also sometimes change by the minute, all depending on whatever item Quinn has acquired in the past 30 minutes. We've seen him take a slab of bluefin tuna and offer it as sashimi, poke, sushi, crudo and as is, depending on how he feels at any particular moment. And the Hatch chile season finds him offering it in burgers, as a sauce, even in powdered form. Just ask the server what's available that day and not on the menu, and trust in Quinn—most likely, he'll trot out the dish himself and offer the method to his madness.