Sunday, August 20, 2006

Can Can - Round 2

Looking across Cary Court, a little shopping strip separated from Cary St. by a parking lot, I had a pretty good view of Duro. I had the privilege of eating at Can Can again, this time in one of their outdoor sections, and seeing Duro's sign reminded me of the quality difference between the two restaurants (despite their close proximity). I don't need to rehash my visit to the "non-Italian pasta" place, but my second experience at Can Can certainly was equal to, if not better, than my first.

Eating on a tiny patio under red umbrellas only added to Can Can's European feel. We sat in the grouping of tables that was on the side of the restaurant rather than next to the front door, and it was very peaceful. The waiter spilled a miniscule amount of champagne when the cork popped out, and apologized profusely, saying he would "see if he could do something" for us. Our starter, fondue with homemade bread
(I had it the last time - only $3), was delicious. We received a large bread basket with the bread of the month, a soft white loaf flavored with lavender and rosemary, and a rustic French rye. I almost ruined my appetite for dinner but managed to finish most of my meal because it so tasty.

I ordered "Summer Vegetable Ragout and Wild Mushroom Risotto" without knowing totally what to expect. When the dish arrived, I was happy to see an assortment bright green vegetables on top of the risotto, with large pieces of wild mushrooms. The risotto was rich and flavorful, and the peas, squash, baby artichokes, beans, and cherry tomatoes were crisp and fresh. It was an ideal summer dinner, and I was thoroughly pleased with my choice. I also tasted the "Crispy Pork with Apple and Arugula Salad," which consisted of a large, fried pork cutlet served with fresh arugula, apples, and golden raisins in a light, creamy dressing.

Between the champagne and the wonderful food I was more than content, and all of a sudden dessert arrived. The waiter wanted to apologize for the champagne spill, which wasn't even significant, so he brought us the restaurant's "Peanut Butter Pyramid." In the middle of a white, rectangular plate was a chocolate pyramid filled with a soft peanut butter mixture. It was resting on a layer of something crunchy and sweet. On one side of the pyramid was a row of sliced bananas with a light caramel sauce, and on the other was homemade banana ice cream. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not the biggest fan of bananas, nor of fruit with my chocolate, but this was an amazing dessert. The combination of the cold ice cream with the intense peanut butter and chocolate pyramid was outstanding.

Can Can continues to thoroughly impress me, as well as many others, because the dining areas and bar are always crowded. And fortunately I live in Richmond, where it's not hard to walk into a restaurant at 8:00 on a Saturday, because I wouldn't be too thrilled to settle for the establishment across the street.

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