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Knife Pleat Debuts at South Coast Plaza


The much anticipated, Knife Pleat restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi just opened at South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse. The couple’s chic new restaurant presents modern interpretations of classic French techniques.

The husband-and-wife team also partnered on their previous Los Angeles-based French restaurants, Spring and Church & State. Spring mesmerized critics by using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to create a cultured tasting tour of the south of France. Church & State, under Sarmadi’s ownership, was named as one of the inaugural Michelin Guide California's 2019 Bib Gourmand establishments.

The dinner menu begins with a selection of composed starters, such as a vibrant Steak Tartare with olive, celery, cured yolk and pomme gaufrette. The Escargot Ravioli features a wild burgundy snail filling in a mushroom broth with celery, garlic and watercress.

Seafood options include a Crudo with kombu-cured fluke, cucumber and green tomato relish, and horseradish; a Branzino, with tomato, yellow bell peppers, fingerling potatoes, prosciutto and piperade jus; and a Lobster Velouté, featuring butter-poached Maine lobster, English pea, carrot and kohlrabi.

Esnault shows his appreciation for California’s outstanding produce as he highlights the season’s most flavorful vegetables with precision. A Vegetable Mosaic starter is beautifully composed with tomato, zucchini, watermelon radish, kohlrabi and fresh chickpea; and a “Legumes de Saison” main course delivers stunning flavors with individually prepared farmer’s market vegetables in vegetal jus.

Among the noteworthy main courses are the Rabbit Pasta with braised rabbit, strozzapreti, piquillo peppers, pearl onion, mustard and tarragon; Crescent Duck featuring breast and leg confit with Swiss chard, Tokyo turnip, and pickled rhubarb; and a charcoal-grilled New Zealand Lamb Rack with eggplant, zucchini, tomato, couscous, mint, lemon confit and harissa.

Capping the menu is Pastry Chef Germain Biotteau’s desserts including Tropical: vanilla panna cotta, passion fruit coulis, mango, caramelized coconut and sorbet; Apricot: clafouti, almond tuille, lemon verbena cream and apricot sorbet; and Caramel: VSOP cognac mousse, almond cake and crumble, caramel cream and ice cream.

Knife Pleat’s beverage program features craft cocktails that pay homage to designers who also call South Coast Plaza home. The Oscar de la Renta, for example, plays on the late fashion icon’s Dominican Republic roots with Brugal Añejo Rum, chinola, passion fruit and lemon.

The cuisine is set in a dramatic 5,000-square-foot space that has 80 seats and two dining areas – an airy dining room wrapped with floor-to-ceiling windows and a patio. A seven-seat bar provides views of the exhibition kitchen where Esnault and his team can be observed in action.

Open for dinner 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and is closed Sundays and Mondays.

In September, the restaurant will debut lunch service and will be open seven days a week. or call 714.266.3388.

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