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257 S. Spring St. (Third St.) Send to Phone
An elegant culinary trip to the cuisine of Southern France at this downtown L.A. restaurant by chef Tony Esnault.
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Local Deals: 120 * 90

Lunch Tues.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Dinner Tues.-Fri. 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.

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Spring, Los Angeles, CA

Spring Restaurant Review

: More than two years in the making, Spring is a very dear project for restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi and chef Tony Esnault. They both have a culinary history in the City of Angels. Sarmadi is the founder and owner of the very successful restaurant Church & State. Esnault, who is an Alain Ducasse alum, arrived here in 2009 to take over the kitchen of Patina at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. (He kept Patina on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. during his tenure there.) They are now husband and wife, so it’s logical that they would open a restaurant together, honoring Esnault’s fine-dining cooking skills. Haute gastronomy is not as much appreciated in Los Angeles as some other cities, so Esnault has come up with a sophisticated yet casual menu that’s approachable to your wallet and your palate. The cuisine draws inspiration from Southern France, where olive oil plays a greater role than butter. The restaurant is located in the courtyard of downtown’s historic Douglas Building, which has been covered by a glass dome. It lets in great natural light, which should be appreciated by local office business men and women escaping their windowless offices for lunch. The décor is very soothing, with a beautiful, wide-open kitchen, off-white cement floor partitioned with brass, two pepper trees, a fountain, and a bar. As you enter, take a look at Esnault’s old kitchen utensils --- a collection that he has been assembling more than 20 years. Now, it’s time to sit at one of the small grey tables, enhanced by green chairs, or at the kitchen counter, and order. At lunch, we recommend the classic salade Niçoise or the contemporary poisson mariné, which is a seasonal market crudo (on our visit, it was hamachi) sprinkled with olive tapenade, tomato, fines herbs and aleppo pepper. You cannot bypass the risotto au saffron, which is one of the best versions that we’ve had. Resembling an impressionist painting on a blue plate, the dish both looks and tastes wonderful. On the lighter side is the bar d’Atlantique, a slowly cooked striped bass served with a lemon crust and swirls of braised fennel. The chicken breast with salsify, yams and little gem in jus vinaigré is presented as a “smiley.” Even though Esnault is French, some of the cheeses on the menu are from America and Switzerland. The desserts, executed by pastry chef Gregory Baumgartner, are the same for lunch and dinner. They lean on the side of fine dining. The Nage de Sûpreme d’Orange is a complicated and very pleasing sweet ending made with cara cara orange, crémeux, meringue and marshmallow in a consommé. Chocolate lovers will order the Chocolat Noisette: praline ganache, hazelnuts and salted brown butter caramel accompanied by hazelnut ice cream.

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