I have been dying to get Neel and Callum to Can Can Brasserie in Richmond. We love the Blue Talon Bistro in Williamsburg, but if we're unable willing to make that 45 minute drive, I figured my chances to get us to Can Can were pretty slim. We have to be on our way somewhere and passing through, I suppose.
I first went to Can Can with my friends Debbie and Tracy last winter when we went to a Picasso exhibit that was showing at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. On the recommendation of friends who used to live there, we knew, based on their description, that we couldn't go wrong. Debbie, Tracy and I were avid lunch-goers, but with Debbie close to moving home to California and away from us, that visit took on a special meaning. It was nice to be back at Can Can and remember my dear friends while I shared this special place with my family.
The place was hopping when we got there, even though it was well after lunch. All of Cary Street in Richmond was exceptionally busy. The front windows of the restaurant were thrown completely open to the sidewalk, with the noise and bustle of brunch-goers spilling out. (I wish I had a picture of that scene, but let's face it: Callum was starving, and we were lucky to get in at all. My attention was needed elsewhere.)
So after Neel asked, I went to Dr. Wikipedia (much less alarming than Dr. Google) and found that brasserie is the the French word for "brewery." It refers to a type of restaurant with an upscale, yet relaxed setting. There are linens on the tables and printed menus. Bistros may have none of these.
We started with mussels, which Callum swore he'd never had until they showed up at the table and he said, "Oh yeah! Mussels! I like those!" Our boy had a burger and fries, and Neel had a duck, mushroom and brie sandwich while I had a beet salad with hazelnut vinaigrette. After a weekend of eating, I was ready for some greens.
Neel loved his salad, and the burger disappeared pretty sharpish too. And beets. Well, I adore beets. I would give anything to have this place around the corner instead of an hour or so down the pike. Although given how heavenly the crocks of onion soup looked, perhaps it's just as well.