June 25, 2018


Costa Mesa, Calif. (June 2018) –  South Coast Plaza is pleased to announce that Knife Pleat, a new French restaurant by chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, will open in early 2019. A power couple in Southern California’s culinary scene, Esnault and Sarmadi are highly regarded for Spring and Church & State, sought-after downtown Los Angeles restaurants that have earned stellar reviews from top critics. Both French restaurants have consistently placed in Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold’s annual “101 Best Restaurants” for 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.

“We sought out Tony and Yassmin in the quest to further elevate the caliber of our fine dining collection,” said Debra Gunn Downing, spokeswoman for South Coast Plaza. “Their restaurant concept and interpretation of French cuisine for Knife Pleat represent a major step forward in the evolution of our Penthouse destination dining.”

The restaurant, located in the exclusive Penthouse on level 3, measures 5,000 square feet and will accommodate 90 guests. 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.


Renowned as a leading international shopping destination, South Coast Plaza is home to more than 250 prominent boutiques, critically-acclaimed restaurants and the adjacent celebrated Segerstrom Center for the Arts. It is the West Coast’s premier shopping experience, with its proximity to beaches and John Wayne Airport, customized concierge services, and unparalleled collection of diverse retailers — from Gucci, Hermès, Cartier and Harry Winston to Dolce&Gabbana, The Webster, Dior, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy and more. South Coast Plaza is located in Orange County, California, in the city of Costa Mesa. Information: southcoastplaza.com or 800.782.8888.