In this week’s episode of Perspectives brought to you by Louisville’s luxury real estate brokerage, Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty, we hear from Isaac Fox, the founder and owner of La Chasse — a rustic, wood-fired, French-influence restaurant located at 1359 Bardstown Road in the Highlands.
“One of the big things we wanted to avoid was the stereotype of French Haute Cuisine – the white tablecloths, the dinner jackets, the snobbish attitude,” Fox explains, “more authentic French comfort food.” When Fox thinks of French cuisine, he thinks of game, braised foods, fresh herbs, roasted vegetables, and great sauces.
Part of their ultimate direction was based the fact that the previous owner of the space – Argentinian Steakhouse, Palermo Viejo – had left their custom-built grill on the premises. The chef transformed the charcoal grill to be 100% wood-fired and they stocked it with a 50-50 blend of white oak and cherry. “It’s very fun for me. I get to go out and chop wood every morning,” Fox says. The aroma of the wood scent is very home-like and appealing, he adds.
Fox relocated to Louisville from Indiana. He’s been living in the south end for a number of years, but the Highlands has always been his favorite place. “I love the vibe… I love the diversity… I love the fact that I can walk anywhere,” he explains. He is thrilled to have opened his restaurant in the heart of “Restaurant Row” – directly between the Bristol and Eastern Parkway, and close to some of the area’s best eateries: Seviche, Jack Fry’s, and Lilly’s, to name a few.
Prior to opening La Chasse, Fox was a music school dropout who worked at fast, casual restaurants to pay the bills. He never thought of it as a serious career move until he worked at a few chef-driven establishments that cultivated his passion for food, wine and cocktails. When he met his future wife, Tennille, she was working in a restaurant with a degree in Culinary Arts, so that fueled his love of the industry as well.
His bartender/mixologist background is evident in the come into extensive cocktail program featured at La Chasse. There are a good 40 craft cocktails that change seasonally. They’re made with fresh herbs and juices, not to mention European liqueurs you may not find here. The cocktail ingredients are meant to pair well with the food – “not some afterthought,” Fox explains. La Chasse has what Fox would consider “a medium-sized wine list” with 80-90 bottles – some obscure, but many Southern French wines, also paired well with the food. Over the next year, he’s hoping to visit a small winery in France to develop a house blend of wine exclusive to his restaurant.
As for the dinner menu, you’ll find some Spanish and Italian ingredients from time to time, but most dishes are French-inspired. “The name La Chasse means ‘the hunt’,” explains Fox, so you could take that one of a few ways. “You’re always going to find some game items in the menu. Our signature dish is braised rabbit.” Other games that rotate throughout the year include elk, venison, wild boar, duck and pheasant.
For more information, visit www.lachasselouisville.com. Reservations can be made through Open Table or by 502-822-3963. Walk-ins are accepted at the 18-seat bar if you’re just looking for a quick bite and drink.