Cancan dancers in poufy white tutus, waitresses in red satin bustiers and butt-hugging short black skirts, a DJ station, two bars, a colorful wooden carousel horse suspended from the ceiling... Karim El Sherif is selling the grésiller along with the steak frites at his new Carousel Can Can Café, which debuted recently in West Palm's CityPlace with a couple of rounds of free food and booze.
Nowadays there's nothing like the word free to get a place packed tighter than any of those slinky bustiers, so a sizable crowd showed up to scarf down nibbles (chicken cordon bleu croquettes, fried calamari, chicken "lollipops" among them) and swig down wine, champagne, and cocktails. (And, of course, there's always one Palm Beach asshole ragging on the overwhelmed staff because this is all about me, me, me.)
The idea behind the place is a faux-bawdy re-creation of a Parisian
cabaret, which explains the bustiers, the dancers, the brightly lit
mannequins hung with naughty lingerie, each in its own wall-mounted
shrine. But a little Moulin Rouge goes a long ways in these parts,
where most diners' knowledge of and interest in French cuisine runs the
gamut from "fries" to "toast."
So while the menu nods at the
mother of all cuisines with duck paté, ratatouille, grilled salmon
paillard, coq au vin, and the inevitable steak frites, it also includes caesar salad, onion rings, grilled mahi
with tropical fruit salad, pasta with pesto, and a roster of burgers
and pizzas from a wood-fired oven. (Though Charlie must admit to being
seduced by the rather absurd decadence of the "Three Truffle Burger," a
patty of ground Black Angus sirloin with truffle butter, truffle oil,
and truffle cheese, which he'll just have to sample and report back on
later, presumably with his head resembling a large, knobby black
Sometimes you just can't resist the grésiller.
Carousel Can Can
700 S. Rosemary Ave., Ste. 228, West Palm Beach. Call
561-833-6001, or visit