Less than three months after earning its first Michelin Star, Knife Pleat has received another significant accolade. We’re thrilled that our elegant French restaurant in the Penthouse has been named one of the Los Angeles Times’ “101 Best Restaurants in LA” this year.
“An opulent outfit appropriately housed in the haute couture wing of Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza, Knife Pleat continues where chef Tony Esnault and his wife, Yassmin Sarmadi, left off with their now-closed French restaurant Spring in downtown Los Angeles,” wrote Times critic Bill Addison. “Esnault was previously the chef at Patina, and he spent years cooking with Alain Ducasse. Which is to say: He performs a rigorous, meticulous form of fine dining that’s nearly extinct in America. Regard his escargot, with its perfectly diced tomato concassé and refined swirls of persillade, and taste its detailed interplays of garlic and herbs and acid, and you’ll understand why this approach to cuisine had a heyday.”
Esnault’s sublime tasting and special menu dinners, which have developed a following, showcase his versatility and virtuosity, whether he’s juxtaposing California’s seasonal produce against decadent ingredients such as white truffle, or exploring a theme such as seafood, or paying homage to the cuisine of a culture. Addison, for example, singled out “an unforgettable dinner at Knife Pleat celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year.”
“The kuku sabzi (its closest Western equivalent is a frittata, but it’s in a category of egg dishes all its own) was dense with herbs but nearly as light as mousse,” he wrote. “It preceded braised lamb shank over pilaf sweetened with dates and raisins. Sarmadi’s mother oversaw the meal, as she did when the couple hosted the feast at Spring. I can’t help hoping, though, that the glories of Iranian cuisine might occasionally carry over to the regular menu as well? A guy can dream.”
He performs a rigorous, meticulous form of fine dining that’s nearly extinct in America. Regard his escargot, with its perfectly diced tomato concassé and refined swirls of persillade, and taste its detailed interplays of garlic and herbs and acid, and you’ll understand why this approach to cuisine had a heyday.
BILL ADDISON, LOS ANGELES TIMES
Knife Pleat is the only French restaurant in all of Orange County to be included in the prestigious Los Angeles Times selection. “We are honored to have Knife Pleat featured on the list, which was started by our dear friend Jonathan Gold,” Esnault and Sarmadi said. “A special thank you to Bill Addison for the kind words and Maria Tauger for the photography.”