Spring restaurant owner Yassmin Sarmadi and her husband, chef and partner Tony Esnault, have announced they will close Spring restaurant in downtown Los Angeles by the end of the month. Located in the 1898 Douglas Building on Spring Street, the restaurant was lauded for Esnault’s precision in the kitchen, the picturesque, sunlit courtyard and Esnault’s immaculate open kitchen.
“Our lease is up at the end of the month, and really, that was the driving factor,” Sarmadi recently told The Times. “We just decided that it was best not to renew it.”
It would be difficult to find a restaurant that better exemplifies Los Angeles-influenced French cooking than Spring. Esnault impressed late restaurant critic Jonathan Gold with his legumes de saison, a medley of seasonal vegetables in varying preparations. Gold also wrote that Esnault's bourride was “spectacular” in his review of Spring, and he listed the restaurant as No. 6 on his 101 Best Restaurants list last year.
“We got to create, I think, something that was very unique in Los Angeles,” said Sarmadi. “We had the most amazing clientele, so that was really wonderful. And even though I didn’t work in the kitchen, I will miss the kitchen too.”
Esnault and Sarmadi have yet to decide the last night of service.
Before opening Spring in 2016, Esnault was chef at Sarmadi’s Arts District French restaurant Church & State and executive chef at Patina in Los Angeles, and his career includes stints at Carré des Feuillants in Paris, Louis XV in Monte Carlo, Auberge de L'Ill in Alsace, France, Essex House in New York and Adour at the St. Regis in New York.
With Spring’s closing, Sarmadi and Esnault are turning their attention to Knife Pleat, the French restaurant they plan to open at South Coast Plaza in early 2019. And Sarmadi said you can expect to see some of the menu items from Spring in Costa Mesa, along with dishes cooked using the restaurant’s wood-fired grill.
Knife Pleat is named for the fashion term for a pleat with the folds all pressed in the same direction, and it’s a nod to the location, surrounded by the Christian Louboutin, Oscar de la Renta and Canali stores. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant is located in the former Marché Moderne space, in the South Coast Plaza Penthouse area on the third floor.
Sarmadi and her husband also plan to devote more time to Church & State and will celebrate the restaurant’s 10-year anniversary in September.
“We are, quite frankly, excited to be able to put more time and attention and focus on that [Church & State],” said Sarmadi. “It deserves it. We are doing a little refresh on the decor as well as the menu.”