This week, Jonathan Gold visits Spring, Tony Esnault's follow up to his French bistro, Church & State. The Times critic describes the restaurant as one of the "loveliest [...] in Los Angeles: an old courtyard, dotted with pepper trees and high-end lawn furniture, a fountain and twinkling tiny lights, under a century-old canopy of cast iron and glass."
The Goldster reminisces on a vegetable soup from Alain Ducasse to show a resemblance between the two French chefs:
I was eating a dish called legumes de saison, seasonal vegetables, and marveling that Tony Esnault too had managed to capture the essence of early summer. The vegetables weren't carved into spheres, but they were beautifully turned: thick slices of zucchini, summer squash and gleaming carrot; asparagus tips and tiny spring peas; translucent slivers of raw radish and purple carrot; wedges of turnip and cauliflower steamed almost to the point of purée; artichoke hearts and bright chard stems that had been flavored with lemon, held together by a shiny puddle of vegetable juice lightly flavored with brown butter and maybe a little olive oil. [...] It is probably not a coincidence that he spent much of his career cooking with Ducasse. [LAT]
J.Gold also muses on the differences in the dishes at Church & State and Spring:
The roast duck breast at Church & State is delicious, in a demiglace; at Spring, it is aged, cooked slowly at low heat, and served with cherries, baby turnips and kohlrabi, and the meat is as rich and delicate as the best sauted foie gras. Everybody likes the steak tartare at Church & State, but at Spring the grass-fed Strauss beef, arranged on the plate in a Rothko rectangle next to a matching oblong of chopped vegetables, is buttery and delicate instead of something you might scarf down with fries. [LAT]
Ultimately, it's a glowing review for the Downtown restaurant that "cost[s] about what it does at Esnault's unpretentious bistro."
257 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA