When Pete Kusiw was on the show with us last week Mary Ann asked when he would again be carving corned beef at the Lakehouse brunch buffet. His noncommittal answer made her ask him to text her the next Sunday he would have it. She got that text Friday night, so we went to the Lakehouse on Sunday.
I have stated many times that I am absolutely not a buffet person. I like to be served, I don’t eat that much, and I hate cold food, which is the most common kind of food at a buffet. Yet I find myself in such a setting often, because the Marys are fans. As such situations go, I think the Lakehouse buffet is the most pleasant option. I have often said that the thing one could most easily say about owner Cayman Sinclair is that he knows his customer, and aims to give them what they want. He has been enormously successful as a result.
Another point of difference between MA and me is her unrelenting desire to sit outside. Here is a wonderful place for that. The grounds are spacious, the gardens are beautiful, and the view of the lake unbeatable. But it is August in Louisiana and it is hot. Luckily, not so much today. MA arrived first and had our table outside. Last time I got us inside because I arrived first. Her opinion of that decision is, "What? It's the lakefront!!"
My wife quickly learned that the carving station was not corned beef but brisket, but there was corned beef hash. The menu here always includes a creamy soup or gumbo. Then a salad station with about six salads, including a signature either crawfish or crab meat cheesecake. This is delicious and very rich. Even crab meat fanatic MA can only do a few bites of this. Pete always has two vegetable medleys, a few starches, a Benedict or two, a fish dish, some kind of chicken and another meat, There are grits and sausage and bacon, as well as an omelet station. And a carved meat. And a tray of desserts. In other words, an absurd amount of food. Bottomless mimosas and tea and coffee for $33. As I said, Cayman knows his customer.
All of this is served in a really beautiful environment. Like an expensive wedding with white tents. A trio of musicians playing in the background.White tablecloths and umbrellas under large oaks and even a swing.
Last time we were there Pete brought out a big bowl of Bouillabaisse, but not until we were already full. Today it was fried green tomatoes with jumbo lump crab meat in a ravigote sauce on top, arugula on top of that, and it was all flanked by grilled shrimp. This was spectacular.
Mary Ann went over and offered half of this to the in-laws of her newly-married niece, who readily accepted it. Something this fantastic was too good to waste, but we had already had the buffet.
Cayman was not there, so we couldn’t ask him about his newest purchase-La Provence. Helen, the most wonderful waitress around, told us she cried when she dropped in there. It is in the demolition phase. I assured her that it would emerge as something beautiful, just like all of Cayman’s places. The future of La Provence looks quite bright. This historic and much-beloved place is in very good hands. Sometime around the end of the year, we may be eating Pete's delicious brunch food there.
2025 Lakeshore Dr Mandeville
Th-Sat 11am-2pm Lunch 5-9 Dinner
Sunday Brunch 11-2