1/15/2013 06:45:00 PM

Ex-Patina Chef Tony Esnault Now at Church & State

Esnault at Patina
Awhile back we dropped the news that Tony Esnault, who garnered a slew of praise at Patina, including four stars from the LA Times, departed the Joachim Splichal machine. It was soon announced that he partnered with Church & State owner Yasmin Sarmadi to open a forthcoming mega restaurant, Spring, which probably won't happen until late this year. But according to Squid Ink, Esnault has recently taken over the reins at Church & State, filling the gap left behind by Jeremy Berlin, who recently left to work at Gordon Ramsay's new spots in Las Vegas.Why is this so exciting?

Like Walter Manzke, who was was the exec chef at Church & State in its infancy, Esnault is a highly regarded chef steeped in French tradition using the best California seasonal ingredients. But when a chef known for haute cuisine goes back to their rustic roots, it's magic. We still fondly talk of Manzke's terrines and tarte flambee, and he hasn't been at C&S for years (though he still serves it when he pops up around town, and surely will have some version of it at Republique when it opens). So far the menu hasn't changed much, but Esnault has added a few of his own dishes, including nettle soup and chicory salads. Even if the menu doesn't change too much, we have a feeling the food will.

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