John Besh sold his La Provence in Lacombe, Louisiana yesterday (as I’m writing this, I see that they haven’t yet updated the website to note the new owners, Eric Hunter and Jennifer Pittman, who are already living on the property)
“Our plans for La Provence is to preserve what La Provence is,” Hunter said. “For us, that’s an institution with memories of people for the last 40 years.”
We were there last summer, and well, it wasn’t particularly busy. Granted we were there for an early supper because we had something later that evening, but still.
Carbs photobombing carbs.
Thiiiiiiis. Chicken liver pate.
Quail gumbo. And you know this is going to be right because John Besh and Chef Loos and whoever is in the kitchen would/could not get this wrong.
So previously, the best gnocchi in my life came from John Besh’s August in the CBD but this came really close. It was a special this evening and they were considering adding it to be a regular item.
Mangalitsa blade steak
We enjoyed supper and were invited to visit the gardens behind the restaurant where much of the food they use is grown. One of the employees was back there (on his day off — he said he just wanted to check on it) and telling us all about it.
…and these little piggies were really friendly — there are a bunch of chickens in the back and we were having this whole conversation with the garden guy about chickens and raising them and broody hens and superior eggs and cleaning pens and varieties and their chickens and our chickens…
The manager came out and he was crazy friendly too and wanted to tell us all about the court they put in and had everything for us to play petanque and gosh even though we had something else to be at we must have stood out there for almost an hour because the guy was so great and nothing in the world mattered because our tummies were full of fabulous gnocchi and we’re playing petanque and this guy has these fabulous stories.
And just like when we go to Chez FonFon in B’ham and Av beats me every single time at boule, he had no mercy and won at this too.
We’ll visit again this summer after the new owners have had a couple of months to settle in. The setting is fantastic, the food was fab, and I’m ready to revenge-win at petanque. And I hope they’ve kept everybody, because what a great experience.
Even minus La Provence (and the Luke in San Antonio that was shuttered a few months ago), John Besh still has a stable-full of restaurants:
Johnny Sanchez New Orleans and Baltimore
We’ve been to all the above minus the Johnny Sanchez outpost in Baltimore, but we now need to get to his:
Caribbean Room — yes yes yes. And look at how gorgeous that is.
Bayou Bar — they’re also serving mile high pie here a la the Caribbean Room
Silver Whistle Cafe — breakfasty
Hot Tin — rooftop bar (this and the other three above are all at the Pontchartrain)
Pigeon and Price — this is the private events venue
BTW, the Nashville Thompson has an imogene + willie jean package that includes a phone consultation (pre-visit) and in-room tailoring and styling session so you leave town with a new pair of custom jeans.