Just like being in a restaurant in Paris, France, Can Can never fails to bring a French atmosphere to Carytown. The ambience of this well-known restaurant pulls you in while walking down the sidewalks of Cary Street, being drawn by the large front windows, which in the summer are open, allowing the restaurant to have an outdoor feeling. Through the waitstaff’s ambition, the style of the restaurant, and the taste of the mouth-watering food, this restaurant is the place to go if you’re looking for French styled cuisine.
Right as you walk into the restaurant,you are greeted with the style of a classic 1920’s brasserie with lights strung around the restaurant and the old-fashioned tin ceiling. The wait staff brings you to a table, and no matter where you are seated, you never feel like you are put into a corner, and you always have a view of the beautiful restaurant. While you are waiting for food, they bring your drinks and bread and butter without hesitation.
The atmosphere of Can Can brings you back in time to classic France with the rustic mirrors, hanging lights and the style of the furniture. Vlastik Svab, Upper School English teacher, says, “It’s quite the Richmond institution. I go a few times a year, and I find the giant cheeseburger is actually one of my favorite things on the menu. And I love the open windows in the front on warm days – a great touch to help make the place feel like a sidewalk bistro.”
This restaurant is different than others in Richmond because of its size in the area of Carytown. It is also a place for a variety of occasions, from coffee in the morning, to brunch, dinner, dessert and also includes a bar for adults in the evening. (The hours for the coffee house are 7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., lunch is served 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and dinner starts at 5:00 p.m.) With the white and black checkerboard floors, period light fixtures, and large flower arrangements, the atmosphere in the restaurant is lively and representative of Paris. The French atmosphere is even accented with the European-styled pull chain toilets in the WC (water closet).
The food is also reminiscent of everyday French cuisine. I ordered the soup of the day, white bean soup topped with bacon, scallions, and cracked black pepper. This soup was chicken stock-based and much lighter than a traditional bean soup. This was followed by the smoked sausage ciabatta with sweet pepper relish and fontina cheese. It was a nice combination of the earthy sausage, sweet peppers, and creamy cheese. My eating companion ordered the Croque Madame. This was a ham and swiss sandwich with sauce mornay, with a fried egg and served with fries. With the melted cheese also topped with a fried egg, this sandwich was best eaten with a knife and fork. My friend stated that, “This meal was more like a wonderful brunch than an ordinary ham and cheese sandwich.”
After thinking the experience was over, you exit through the curtains and then through the door and are greeted by a man selling fresh flowers on the corner, and on the stroll back to the car I happen to peer into the window behind the restaurant and glimpsed at the entire bakery for the restaurant in action. I highly recommend Can Can for a lunch or dinner, but more particularly for a delightful Saturday or Sunday brunch.
All photos by Ginx Williams.