Spring: French cuisine that focuses on olive oil
Natural light pours down from the atrium rooftop above Spring, the exquisite restaurant nestled in the center of the historic Douglas Building at Third and Spring Street, around the corner from the Bradbury Building.
Spring is the creation of owner Yassmin Sarmadi and executive chef Tony Esnault, who are married. It is their second restaurant, after the Art’s District’s Church & State.
They were not looking to open a second restaurant, but “they found us,” says Sarmadi. “The building’s owners are some of our regulars at Church & State. They proposed that we do something with the space.”
When they walked in they saw the remnants of a Japanese restaurant, a coffee shop and a bakery all crowded into the area. They also saw the potential of the location and proposed that they could take the whole thing over and open the area up, letting the natural light touch everything.
“We looked at the space and thought about what would work well here. We thought a garden space would be fitting. We wanted people to think of a serene, comforting place in the middle of the bustle of downtown.”
The concept of Spring is similar to Church & State -- both are restaurants that focus on the cuisine of Southern France, where Esnault grew up. Whereas Church & State focuses on crafting dishes using butter, Spring focuses on olive oil.
The quality of the ingredients found at Spring is second to none.
“All of the meat we cook comes from animals that are grass-fed and humanely raised,” says Sarmadi. “We think that’s right.”
Esnault points to the lamb sirloin as an example of the quality of their meat. The taste is divine; far richer and cleaner-tasting than corn-fed lamb. The lamb is plated with couscous and rutabaga, crafting a wonderful dish.
For these hot summer days, Esnault recommends the gazpacho -- chilled tomato soup. He marinates the tomatoes for 24 hours before blending them, and when you order the dish, it is brought to you in two separate containers. The tomato stock is poured over the rest of the soup at the table. The sliced tomatoes, celery, and cucumber mixed in are impossibly fresh.
The sweet corn risotto is equally fresh, with the rice perfectly cooked and the sweet corn a far cry from the canned stuff you get at a supermarket.
“We want people to be pleased and satisfied with their meal,” says Esnault. “We are farmer’s market-oriented.”
For dessert, chef Germain Biotteau is currently plating two distinctive dishes -- the pannacotta and the chocolate raspberry.
“I really like sweets,” he smiles. “I grew up in the French countryside and I ate a lot of sweets. My childhood inspires my desserts. I have been working with sweets since I was 15 years old.”
The food at Spring is truly outstanding. Esnault is master chef surrounded by an exceptional team. The space of the restaurant creates an amazing ambiance, turning an already extraordinary meal into something otherworldly.
Spring is a place to turn off your cell phone and settle in for a while. To taste, truly taste your meal. It is a place to celebrate downtown LA and how special this neighborhood is.
springlosangeles.com | 257 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Written by Abel Horwitz | Photography by Rebekah Lemire