La Provence: Supper And A Show, And Petanque — And The Possibility Of Leaving Nashville With Bespoke Jeans

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.”

La Provence, Lacombe LA

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.

La Provence, Lacombe LA//

Carbs photobombing carbs.
Bread Service at La Provence, Lacombe LA//

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.
Quail Gumbo at La Provence, Lacombe LA//

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.
Gnocci at La Provence, Lacombe LA//

Mangalitsa blade steak
Mangalitsa Blade Steak at La Provence, Lacombe LA//

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.
La Provence, Lacombe LA//

…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…
Mangalitsa Pigs at La Provence, Lacombe LA//

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.

Petanque at La Provence, Lacombe LA//

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:
Besh Steak
Pizza Domenica
Johnny Sanchez New Orleans and Baltimore
Willa Jean

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

John’s website mentions the ones above, but I didn’t see note of the new places in Nashville at the Thompson:
Marsh House, L.A. Jackson, and Killebrew

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.

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