I've already professed my love for Can Can several times on my blog, and now I have a new Cary Street restaurant to gush about. Davy, my parents, and I had one of our favorite meals in Richmond at Acacia mid-town on Saturday night.
Multiple bloggers and reviewers have talked about the delicious homemade cocktails at Acacia, so I was excited to have the chance to sample a few. I ordered a vodka drink with muddled peaches and ginger, which was fantastic, and my mom got a rum cocktail with lemon and cinnamon syrup. It was both comforting and exotic, and not overly sweet. Before I had tasted any of the restaurant's food I was ready to return for that drink.
After an amazing pork belly experience at Helen's, we couldn't resist trying Acacia's version, which was served with shitake mushrooms over seafood salad. The pork belly was, of course, decadent and flavorful, but not as crispy and meaty as we remembered from Helen's. We also sampled stuffed halibut cheeks, which were tender and delicious, and barbecued sweet toads. Sweet toads are taken from the tail of the puffer fish, and the meat is noticeably sweeter than the rest of the fish.
None of us had any complaints about our entrees, and I was lucky enough to sample bites from everyone's plate. The duck was moist and smoky, the rockfish succulent and substantial, and the softshell crabs melted in my mouth after the initial crunch. My main course was sauteed black sea bass with "zucchini linguine," broccolini, and pine nuts. The fish was exceedingly fresh, and the vegetables were perfectly cooked.
We all looked at the dessert menu, but I wasn't wowed by any of the options; only one mentioned chocolate and that's what I really wanted (for a change). After we inquired and found out that Acacia doesn't serve espresso, we decided to go to Can Can for coffee and dessert. The night was very pleasant, especially compared to our recent steamy temperatures, and we wanted to sit outside. Unfortunately we would have had to wait, but the host seated us by the front windows, which were wide open to let in the (almost) cool air.
Can Can happens to have their desserts divided into categories on the menu, and the chocolate section contains three tantalizing creations. I opted for the Pastel de Tres Leches, which I've had before, and it was as wonderful as the last time. There's a sizeable, moist chocolate cake drizzled with ganache on the plate, and a large scoop of chunky cookies and cream ice cream keeping it company. Neither of them lasted very long once our waiter set the plate in front of me.
I'm already plotting my next trip to Acacia, which may just be a quick stop at the bar to enjoy a drink with the cinnamon syrup. More likely, however, the food will keep me on Cary St. for much longer, and the lure of chocolate at Can Can will draw me to the front window.