Can Can is an authentic slice of French style and cuisine in the heart of Carytown, and I particularly enjoy heading over there on Saturday mornings before most of the stores are open. Parking close by is easier and the crowds haven’t yet arrived. At this earlier time you simply walk up to the bar, place your order, choose a seat, and wait for your coffee and pastry. This morning I ordered a large cappuccino and a small brioche – twice – and a single espresso before I left.
Let me tell you…the coffee is the finest I’ve had in Richmond as far as espresso-based drinks are concerned. They still import their beans (whole, of course), but at least they’re using LaVazza instead of Illy. Considering the smoother taste and richer crema, I think they’re using a blend that has some Robusta mixed in. I personally prefer this, but I know there are some coffee snobs out there who insist on 100% Arabica 🙂
It’s also worth noting that the barista practices latte art, and it’s quite well done, too. They seem to be fond of rosettas. Why is this worth noting? Richmond doesn’t exactly have much of a coffee shop culture, so when I see this practice, I feel more confident that the barista has mastered the brewing enough to focus on presentation (you need good micro foam anyway). This means that my coffee isn’t just pretty to look at, it’s likely to taste better, too. And you know what? It tastes freakin’ awesome.
The pastry is made fresh every day, and my brioche was buttery and delicate. They also bake their own bread every day, and you can sample several excellent varieties whenever you order lunch. Of course, lunch is the only other meal I’ve ever eaten at Can Can, and I admit I’ve only had one item on the lunch menu. But oh! what a fantastic selection. The croque monsieur is the classic French take on grilled ham and cheese, layered on delicious bread and covered with a rich bechemel sauce before popped in the broiler.
The dinner menu is a bit steeper which is what’s kept me from further exploration of the menu, but someday (or Samedi?) I’ll have to try one of their wine dinners which seem to include quite a bit for the money.
We’ll see how Can Can fares after I’ve been to Paris, though I suspect it’ll remain the closest thing to serious French cafe and dining life for 100 miles in any direction.