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LA’s Renowned French Cuisine Couple to Open Knife Pleat at SCP


Curious as to what chic restaurant would take the spot of the award-winning Marché Moderne that relocated from South Coast Plaza to Crystal Cove last year? The word is out that Knife Pleat, a new French restaurant by chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, will open in early 2019. Esnault and Sarmadi, known for their sought-after downtown Los Angeles restaurants Spring and Church & State. Both French restaurants have made Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold’s annual “101 Best Restaurants” in the Los Angeles Times.

Esnault, regarded as one of Southern California’s best French chefs, grew up in the Loire Valley and attended culinary school in Lyon. Esnault’s resume includes stints at numerous Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe, including Carré des Feuillants in Paris, Auberge de L’Ill in Alsace, and at the legendary Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo, where he met his mentor, Alain Ducasse. The two chefs reunited in New York City at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House and Adour at the St. Regis. Esnault’s work with Ducasse earned the restaurants a combined five Michelin stars and three stars from The New York Times.

Sarmadi, a passionate foodie since childhood, opened Church & State in 2008, the French bistro that established her as a pioneer of the burgeoning downtown L.A. culinary scene.

The couple envisions Knife Pleat as “elegant yet approachable,” designed to complement the contemporary style of South Coast Plaza while incorporating elements of tradition. The cuisine of Knife Pleat will reflect Esnault’s modern interpretation of classic French techniques, drawing from his 25 years of fine dining experience in Europe, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The restaurant will be located on level 3. The name Knife Pleat came about as a play on food and fashion at South Coast Plaza. It is borrowed from a fashion term referring to a precise pleat with folds pressed in one direction.

Photo by Bernardo Doral

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