Thursday, July 13, 2006

Trendy Dining

Since Can Can opened over a year ago, I've been resisting the urge to eat there. It's a mere five minutes from my apartment (on foot), but its snobby air and trendy reputation always made me wonder if the walk there would be worth it. All of my curiosity was eased on Sunday when my friend and I tried to go to Duro - the former Limani - right across the street from Can Can. When we found that Duro was closed, we crossed Cary to try our luck at the fashionable French eatery.

Both of us were pleasantly surprised by the interior, which had an upscale European feel to it. The booths and tables are set up in various sections, so you can sit almost anywhere and still feel like you're in a small restaurant. In contrast, the impressive bar spans an entire span of the restaurant, and there is an area in a front corner with baskets of bread and pastries for sale. I had tried the bread once before, and it is worthy of a French bakery. Our waitress brought three different kinds to the table (olive, French rye, and baguette) with olive oil.

I ordered a Bellini, which is champagne and peach puree, and it was sweet and refreshing. The last cocktail I had out was at 3 Monkeys. It was supposed to be one of their signature Monkey martinis, with lemon, simple syrup and club soda, but it was flat and bland. It's nice to know that some trendy spots care about the quality of their drinks.

Our appetizers were just as appealing as my Bellini. I got a half dozen mussels for $3 with lemon and mignonette (a peppery oil and vinegar sauce). They were beautifully presented over ice, and tasted very fresh. We also shared fondue ($3), which was served warm in a small bowl with 3 long, soft pieces of brown bread. For my main course I chose a shrimp salad ($11), which was gigantic but light. There were small shrimp mixed with baby arugula, roasted red peppers, white beans, and a crisp lemon vinaigrette. It was a perfect complement to the fondue and mussels, and I enjoyed ordering multiple, reasonably priced items as opposed to one entree.

Although my friend and I went to Can Can just to try it out, I know I could go back for a drink, appetizer, or a full meal. Other popular restaurants, like Davis & Main, have let me down on more than one occasion - with unevenly cooked pork and salmon. I didn't find any flaws in the food or the service at Can Can, but I was too full for dessert. Judging by the quality of the bread and everything else I tasted, I may have to return in the near future for something sweet, and I'm sure it will live up to my high expectations.

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