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LA’s French Cuisine Power Couple to Open New Restaurant in Orange County

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Spring’s Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi bring Knife Pleat to South Coast Plaza

Chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi.
Chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi
Bernardo Doral
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

The couple behind Downtown’s Spring and Church & State are opening a new French restaurant in South Coast Plaza. Chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi plan to debut Knife Pleat in early 2019.

South Coast Plaza approached the couple to open a new concept in the penthouse restaurant section of the high-end shopping mall. Knife Pleat will showcase Esnault’s modern interpretation of classic French techniques. At 5,000 square feet, the restaurant will hold around 90 guests.

Esnault and Sarmadi are best known for opening Spring and Church & State in Downtown. Esnault grew up in the Loire Valley and went to culinary school in Lyon. His CV runs through many Michelin-starred restaurants, including the Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo, where Esnault met his mentor, Alain Ducasse. The two chefs worked together again in New York at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House and Adour at the St. Regis. Esnault’s work with Ducasse brought the restaurants a combined five Michelin stars and three stars from The New York Times, before he went to helm the kitchen at Patina in Downtown LA.

About the name, Knife Pleat is a fashion term that refers to a precise pleat with folds pressed in one direction.


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