Please Pleat Me

Tony Esnault’s new restaurant, Knife Pleat, in the tony South Coast Plaza, is a sharp-edged gem. Taking over the former Marche Moderne space near Nordstrom’s, the room has been lightened up and made airier, with the bar and entrance both moved from the old locations. For appetizers, we had the escargot ravioli ($21), which were excellent but, as the server was careful to explain, not a traditional preparation. The olive-crusted halibut ($42) was outstanding, as was the rabbit strozzapreti ($31). The duck (cooked two ways) looks like a promising option for a future visit. Bread is $2 per piece (choice of pretzel, olive or baguette) but comes with a top line French butter. Several interesting wines on the list and the prices were not too bad. The service was good throughout.