Michele: I've been to Can Can for brunch once before. It was a couple of years ago with the dude that I was hanging out with at the time. He's a big eater, and I went on a super long run beforehand to work up an equivalent appetite. The two of us split three entrees. It was epic. So I was super-stoked to brunch at Can Can a second time. Imagine my dismay when I arrived and Marin told me that they were not serving their brunch menu on account of the Watermelon Festival raging outside. I pouted a little bit and ordered my Bloody Mary and coffee. My Bloody Mary arrived, along with coffee and water. I was a little disappointed in the Bloody. Too much cocktail sauce for my taste, not enough spice or seasoning. The coffee on the other hand was perfect! It tasted exactly how a good cup of coffee should taste.
We started out with the Moules Frites appetizer and an heirloom tomato and melon salad. The mussels were very delicious. I can't remember what broth they came in, but it was divine. The fries were thin and crispy, and they were served in a little paper cone! The fries also went well with the delicious mussel broth. The tomato salad was equally pleasing. I loved all the different colors of tomatoes on the plate. And sizes too! They ranged from huge slices to teeny tiny cherries. I appreciated that even the small tomatoes were cut in half. The feta and melon balls accented the tomatoes very well.
While we were still enjoying our appetizers, the main courses arrived. I selected the eggplant BLT sandwich. Again, imagine my dismay when my sandwich arrived and there was no B! It was in fact an ELT. I enjoyed my sandwich anyways. The eggplant was battered and fried. The sandwich was a little difficult to eat, though, one the breading started to come off the eggplant, making the bread a little soggy. I couldn't finish my Bloody Mary, so I ordered a watermelon and blueberry mojito to wash down my sandwich. Wow, that drink was delicious. The blueberry and watermelon added a nice twist to the already summery cocktail.
Overall, our Can Can experience was a little mixed bag. Wonderful food, coffee and watermelon themed cocktails. So so on the service and Bloody Mary. We definitely received French style service this week, so I'm sort of willing to assume that our waiter was just trying to go along with the theme of his restaurant. I will certainly come back to Can Can for brunch, but I will be sure to confirm while making my reservation that they are indeed serving brunch that morning.
Marin: I really wanted to love my experience at Can Can. I'd been once or twice before for dinner, and always thought that it was over-hyped. People SWEAR BY that place! Certainly, the food is good and the ambiance is fantastic, but I've never thought of it as one of my go-to places to eat. Richmond is nothing if not rich with excellent brunching and dining options, after all. Well, though our food was absolutely incredible - the moules-frites, my monte cristo (though, for my taste, it was a bit heavy on the ham!), and the watermelon gazpacho, ALL to die for - the service is what really made this brunching experience something of a nightmare. I'm admittedly quite picky when it comes to service at restaurants, and of course the Watermelon Festival was in full swing all around us which added to the insanity, but... STILL. First, I was given attitude when I asked for small plates on which we could eat our bread. I mean, sure, that's not how they do it in France, but we were on CARY STREET, in RICHMOND, VIRGINIA. What, is Can Can suddenly going to allow dogs to lick off our plates too? "We don't normally serve plates with the bread," the man(ager?) told me with his nose high in the air when I - very politely - requested them. He brought them anyway. Our dishes weren't served together - they just came as they were ready - but I never fault waiters for this, because they can't possibly help it. I will note, though, that our waiter did apologize profusely for the odd timing of the dishes being served. He did not, however, take advantage of my offer - I was practically begging! - to order a second drink. It took him quite a while even to return a drink menu to our table, and then almost twenty additional minutes to come back and take our drink order, though he frequented the tables on either side of us several times during this interval. By the time he did come back, I was finished eating and declined to order a second drink. Michele did order one, and when it eventually came, it was the wrong drink. When she told him this, our waiter, instead of letting her finish it anyway and also bringing her the drink she requested, asked her what she would like him to do. She, very kindly, took the blame for the incident and told him she probably failed to order loudly enough, and asked him for the drink she did order. He then promptly took away her drink, and it was a long time before she received the drink she actually ordered. Also, as Andrea mentioned, the staff inexplicably felt the need to remove her (unsightly?!) crutches from the dining area, so she was not free to move about at all during the meal. Alright, my quite brutal critiques of the service aside, the ambiance really was quite lovely, even considering the incessant din coming from the Watermelon Festival festivities outside, and the food was simply mouth-watering. Brunch did not elevate Can Can onto my list of favorite Richmond dining spots, but I will remember the food from this brunch with fondness.
Food - Very Good. Pricey, but the portions are large. Standouts included the Monte Cristo, four cheese quiche, and the watermelon, feta, and tomato salad special. Large menu, variety of items. Bring your appetites!
Atmosphere - Good. Aesthetically pleasing with nice natural light coming through the windows. Beautiful, large floral arrangement in the middle of the dining area. The Watermelon Festival may have brought a few additional patrons into the bar area, but the restaurant is rather loud in general so consider that with large parties.
Service - Poor. The server gave some attitude when we asked for bread plates. Slow to get drinks, slow to get refills, and received the wrong drink. Although it made sense to take Andrea's crutches away so it wasn't taking up space at the table, it did take a while to ultimately obtain them back.
Coffee - Very Good. Hot coffee was super tasty, as was the iced variety, but Andrea wanted a refill on her iced coffee which wasn't available.
Mimosa - Very Good. Watermelon mimosa and watermelon mojito were both quite tasty, although the waiter apparently couldn't tell the difference because he brought a second mimosa when we asked for a mojito.
Bloody Mary- Fair. Nothing special in this one. Too much cocktail sauce for my taste, not enough sass.