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Can Can for dinner...

Okay, it's no secret to my friends and readers that I'm a fan of Can Can in Carytown. But it took until tonight for Valerie and me to have dinner in what is now clearly my favorite Richmond restaurant. We were celebrating my GMAT results with a fancy dinner, and I used that as an excuse to finally see if Can Can's evening offerings equaled the day service.

I think my expectations were exceeded.

Now I've read mixed reviews online about Can Can. I understand that each person's experience is different, but Valerie and I had fine service from start to finish in addition to creative libations and amazing food. Combine that with what I already consider to be one of the classiest atmospheres in town, and it all made for a fun and enjoyable night of dining.

We started off with some cocktails - Valerie's French martini (Grey Goose, Chambord, pineapple, and Champagne) was well-crafted, and my Pimm's Cup was interesting (though the combination of ginger beer and mint makes it unlikely I'll order again). My "individual" hours d'oeuvre of fontina fondue was easily enough for Valerie and I to share, and the freshly-made potato chips were the perfect accompaniment. Our next round of drinks consisted of Valerie's delicious blackberry bellini and my "dark and ginger" - a mixture of dark rum, ginger beer (they really seem to like that for cocktails right now) and lime - was tasty as well. Our entrees arrived shortly thereafter.

Valerie's hanger steak with Bordelaise was grilled just right and came with a potato gratinee served artfully beside. I ordered the tasting portion of the braised lamb and was surprised to receive what was certainly enough for a full meal. Before me was the most flavorful piece of lamb I have yet consumed, and the shoulder cut was so tender as to be almost spreadable. My dinner was served upon a bed of roasted root vegetables, mushrooms, and a puree of of celery root and pear.

How could we skip dessert at a restaurant which makes some of the finest French pastries in Richmond? Valerie had the apple babka which really looked like "apples three ways" - her own personal Iron Chef-style dish. There was the babka, an apple fritter, and fresh butterscotch ice cream with a small dish of apply syrup to tie it all together. I decided 14 minutes was worth waiting for a chocolate soufflé which arrived with fresh chocolate ice cream atop a chocolate cookie with a caramel sauce. Oh yeah, and Val had cappuccino and I had espresso. I can't pass up Can Can's coffee :-)

While I can't justify eating dinner at Can Can on a regular basis, tonight's outing was so great that I hope to repeat it soon. If it wasn't for its proximity to Valentine's Day, I'd have a hard time passing up their next wine dinner on February 19th. But I think I could enjoy grabbing some cocktails and hours d'oeuvres at the bar in the near future...