For years, big parts of downtown L.A.’s Douglas Building sat vacant on the corner of Spring Street & 3rd Street. However, Church & State owner Yasminn Sarmadi and chef/partner Tony Esnault saw potential in the space, opening Spring to start 2015 after a long overhaul. This French restaurant captures the essence of each season in an airy dining room set in an atrium with an open kitchen, olive green and wood furniture, and marble bars.
The menu is ostensibly French, but Chef Esnault finds influences in Mediterranean neighbors like Italy. As a result, Spring ended up serving one of my favorite pasta dishes of the year, called Pâte Artisanal ($19). Strozzapreti pasta is historically known as “priest stranglers” in Italy due to Umbrian clergymen’s inability to stop eating them. In this case, the hand-rolled pasta delivered great chew and hosted hearty Bloomsdale spinach that bathed in a light shallot and lemon sauce. A soft-poached organic duck egg provided a rush of yolk and breadcrumbs contributed textural contrast. This dish was on Spring’s menu to start the restaurant’s namesake season, and certainly helped to bolster their reputation.