Knife Pleat, the new restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, is now open at South Coast Plaza’s Penthouse on level 3. The new restaurant presents modern interpretations of classic French techniques.
“We conceptualized this restaurant to complement the extraordinary luxury retail collection at South Coast Plaza and named it ‘Knife Pleat’ after the fashion term, as a play on couture and cuisine,” says Sarmadi. “The restaurant showcases the elevated but approachable cuisine that Tony has cultivated from 25 years of fine dining experience.”
The husband-and-wife team is regarded as a powerful force in Southern California’s culinary scene, having 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 wait is over and it’s worth it,” says Debra Gunn Downing, spokeswoman for South Coast Plaza. “Knife Pleat is a spectacular restaurant that has everything that we sought and more when we were looking for a higher-level, chef-driven French concept for our Penthouse. Tony’s world-class culinary talent reflects the caliber of South Coast Plaza’s luxury boutique collection. We’re proud to introduce Knife Pleat to our visitors and to Southern California fine dining enthusiasts.”
For Knife Pleat, Esnault has created an elegant menu that features highlights such as Escargot Ravioli with a filling of wild burgundy snails in a mushroom broth with celery, garlic and watercress; chilled Langoustine with radish, green papaya, coconut espuma and lemongrass; Crescent Duck featuring breast and leg confit with Swiss chard, Tokyo turnip and pickled rhubarb. Esnault shows his appreciation for California’s incredible produce with a Vegetable Mosaic starter composed of tomato, zucchini, watermelon radish, kohlrabi and fresh chickpea.
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 translucent windows and a plein air patio accented with greenery. A seven-seat bar provides views of the striking exhibition kitchen where Esnault and his team can be observed in action. The refined architecture and interiors by Johnson Fain - in collaboration with Sarmadi and Esnault - is decidedly understated, with a high fashion aesthetic and a soft palette.
The restaurant is open for dinner 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and is closed Sundays and Mondays. In September 2019, the restaurant will debut lunch service and will be open seven days a week. For more information, visit www.knifepleat.com or call 714-266-3388.