ACCOMPLISHED RESTAURATEUR YASSMIN SARMADI AND CELEBRATED CHEF TONY ESNAULT OPEN HIGHLY ANTICIPATED SPRING RESTAURANT ON FEBRUARY 8, 2016
The restaurant captures the flavors of Southern France in Downtown Los Angeles’ historic Douglas Building
Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi and Executive Chef Tony Esnault announce today’s opening of Spring, a refined culinary oasis located in the time-honored Douglas Building. As the second collaboration from the husband and wife team behind the quintessential Francophile-bistro Church & State, the restaurant evokes the cuisine of Southern France where fresh seafood and local ingredients reign supreme. In an atmosphere of relaxed sophistication anchored by the expansive and stunning open kitchen, lunch service begins today followed by the addition of dinner on February 19.
“This project is one of pure passion for Tony and me,” says Sarmadi. “Downtown Los Angeles has, over the years, become our home, and when approaching our second concept, there was no question it would once again be a part of the area’s burgeoning revitalization. At Spring, we are presenting diners with a contrasting culinary experience to Church & State, allowing Tony’s versatility, passion for, and mastery of the nuanced cuisines of his heritage to shine. Through our commitment to authenticity, we aim to transport our guests to a different time and place, while speaking to the palate of today’s diner.”
Esnault serves as executive chef of both restaurants, with support from seasoned Chef de Cuisine Enrique Cuevas, and Pastry Chef Gregory Baumgartner. The Spring menu of seafood, vegetables, and lighter fare is in contrast to the venerable big brother restaurant, Church & State, which has long been touted as a preeminent restaurant for hearty and rich French bistro cuisine.
“The simplest way to describe the culinary difference between the two restaurants is to say that, while Church & State’s classic bistro fare is driven by the use of butter, the backbone of Spring’s lighter fare is olive oil,” says Esnault. “Ultimately, bringing the cuisine of Southern France to Southern California is a logical one. The two regions have very similar climates, ideal for farming and fishing, and in turn, yield some of the best ingredients in the world. ” Opening menu items include Marinated Sea Bream Crudo, Saffron Risotto, and Bourride Provencale.
Nestled on the ground floor of the Douglas Building, built in 1898, the restaurant design was conceived by Sarmadi and Esnault, and brought to life by architect David Wick and interior designer Beth Thorne. Spring marks Wick’s second collaboration with Sarmadi, following the design of Church & State in 2008. Artfully divided into two distinct areas, overseen by General Manager Jennifer Courtney direct from a 15-year tenure at Roland Passot’s Left Bank Brasserie, Spring provides varied atmospheres for dining and cocktailing experiences. Anchoring the space at the corner of Spring and 3rd Street is an intimate lounge with rich dark wood paneling and plush green tufted seating areas, which plays host to a large bar, backed by turquoise walls dotted with vintage artwork. Crafted as a respite for downtown denizens before or after a meal, pastis and classic cocktails by Assistant General Manager Adam Flamenbaum are presented in a collection of antique glassware. In the dining room, an approachable menu of Old World wines from France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Spain, selected by Sarmadi and Esnault, are served by Sommeliers Victor Moreno and Blue Grant.
Adjoining the lounge, the space opens to an airy atrium with a glass and steel A-frame ceiling. Tables and sage-colored chairs are scattered amongst two large pepper trees and a fountain in the center of the dining room. The awe-inspiring open kitchen, running the length of the dining room, is furnished with white subway tile, gleaming pots, and is visible from three sides. In addition to the elegant white marble bar within the central dining room, brass accents and antiques, personally sourced by Esnault and Sarmadi, add a French je ne sais quoi. Lining the walls, a series of French doors reminiscent of a private residence on the Riviera reveal an intimate private dining room that hosts 30 guests. Guests mingling before a meal can peruse the glass antique display case of vintage cooking tools, collected by Esnault over 20 years, or peek over the chef’s counter to the array of ceramic vessels from the couple’s personal collection mixed artfully with colorful spices. Waiters gracefully clad in custom earth tone uniforms by Downtown Design League add the finishing touch to Sarmadi and Esnault’s second venture, Spring.