It’s authentic. From the tiny little octagonal floor tile to the toilet’s high, high tanks with a long, dangling chain for flushing…
It’s authentic. From the tiny little octagonal floor tile to the toilet’s high, high tanks with a long, dangling chain for flushing, Can Can’s Francophile obsessiveness reaches its fever pitched mania in the bathroom.
Not only are the toilets from France, there’s French soap sitting on the sink, the little shelves that hold paper towels in a nice, neat stack (don’t knock those over!) are French, and the sinks and sink fixtures are also from France. In fact, just in case you paused to contemplate the whisper of a question about authenticity, you can look down while washing your hands and actually read French words right on the faucets. Quelle détail!
The stalls need to darken a little with age, but the flower-like sconces and ceiling lights have that perfect leftover-from-the-nineteenth-century feel about them. It’s slightly on the dim side in there, however, and despite all of the shiny white tile, the corners have shadows where grime might lurk. Could it be imported grime? Or is the alleged grime just an illusion?
A real French brasserie’s bathroom would have at least a hundred years of ground-in flotsam build-up on the floors and the whole room would be deeply stained by Gitanes smoke. Why stop smoking because you have to pee? Why stop peeing because you need a smoke? This is the secret we Americans never quite learned from the French. Luckily, we can now teach them how to text and pee at the same time. Or is that the Japanese?
I digress. Like the big zinc bar out front, imported along with a real, live Frenchman to install it while the restaurant—once a bridal shop—was being refitted, it’s the little details that help to complete the fantasy at Can Can. Most restaurants merely offer food; Can Can, right down to its bathroom fixtures, offers a glimpse into another world, another culture. Sure, it’s just set dressing, but isn’t a fake pissoir a lot more fun to visit than all the other real bathrooms out there?
Can Can Brasserie
3120 W Cary St
Richmond, VA 23221