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Seven Things to Expect at Spring, Downtown’s Newest French Restaurant Player

Now open for lunch, with dinner on the way.

Spring, Downtown
Spring, Downtown
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

The paper is finally off the windows, and as of yesterday it was possible for anybody to just walk into Spring and order up some lunch. If you’re thinking the rollout of this long-anticipated restaurant has been a bit under-the-radar, you’d be right — but that largely seems to be by design.

Co-owner Yassmin Sarmadi of Church & State, along with chef/owner/husband Tony Esnault, seem to have wanted to keep the lid on the place until the last possible moment, but with the restaurant now open for lunch, details are starting to pour out. Here’s what we know.

Expect Mediterranean French cuisine. Think olive oil instead of butter, Sarmadi says. That means a strong Mediterranean focus on the menu —  you can see the lunch offerings here — while not losing the pure Frenchness of the place, particularly with dishes like salmon rillettes, and steak au sautoir.

Dinner starts this weekend. Feel like making a reservation for the dreaded Valentine’s Day? You can do so at Spring, while simultaneously earning an early peek at the dinner lineup, which doesn’t really kick in until later this month. Here’s the V-Day menu, which is full of saffron risottos, cooked vegetables with truffle oil, and and a hearty duck breast with pears, beets, and yams. After that, you’ll have to wait for dinner service again on the following weekend, before regular weeknight service begins on Tuesday, February 23.

You can get wine, beer, and cocktails. Assistant GM Adam Flamenbaum is working the spirits side of the bar, while Esnault and Sarmadi hand-selected much of the Old World exclusive wine list.

Expect a Church & State feel, but different. This isn’t quite the same level of bistro dining as you’ll find at Church & State in the Arts District, though the architect for Spring, David Wick, is the same. Designer Beth Thorne also worked on the long-gestating restaurant, focusing on loads of dark wood, vintage touches, and a variety of seating options from booths to a long bar.

The dining room is more of an atrium than anything. At Spring, much of the seating exists in an enclosed atrium area, with a tall glass ceiling situated high above. There’s a water fountain in the middle, brass touches, the ubiquitous white subway tile, all of which gives way to a long, open kitchen that runs the length of the room and can be seen from anywhere. Squint just perfectly, and the whole thing might sort of start to look like Le Petit Paris, also in Downtown, though with much less open space and none of that multi-level business.

And there’s going to be room for private parties and intimate dinners, too. There’s a small (well, it seats 30) private dining area off to one side of the dining room to boot, plus stations for some chef’s counter action should anyone want to get up close and personal with Esnault while he cooks. No word on when those will be available, but the room can handle it so it’s only a matter of time before someone’s sitting there.

This ain’t no late night place. Unlike Church & State, which seems to only get busier as the night goes on, Spring is opting to be more subdued, shutting down dinner service at 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on Saturdays. You can make reservations for dinner on their Opentable, just know that weeknight service doesn’t kick in until later this month.

257 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA