Dining: 8407 is Silver Spring's new fine dining destination
When a highly anticipated restaurant opens with fanfare and hullabaloo, it's important to look beyond the dazzle of the décor and the shiny new appointments. The bread and butter of a restaurant, of course, is the food, and even in its first week, 8407 is Silver Spring's new culinary gold standard, starting with the bread and butter. Upon being seated, diners are served toasted slices of dense chewy bread from Upper Crust Bakery accompanied by a small pot of deliciously fresh soft creamy butter.
The menu strategy at 8407 is comprehensive. A standard menu of small-plate fare is available throughout the day. One dish on this menu is the semolina crusted fried oysters. They are fresh, briny and sweet with just the right crunch. While the oysters are good, the dish is elevated to world class by the accompaniment of kimchee style scallions, a pickled study of spring onions and chilies. Other standard menu items include toasty oven roasted olives, an array of artisanal cheeses, many of them local, and a selection of house-made charcuterie that includes a luxuriously rich and toothsome duck prosciutto. However, the ultimate grazing dish on this menu is the ethereal pickled potted rabbit truffle rillette, a mousse of rabbit and truffle for spreading on crusty croutons. A seasonal fruit compote accompanies it, lending just the right sour and sweet compliment to the rich creamy rabbit goodness.
The lunch menu features entrée salads that can be finished variously with shrimp, grilled chicken breast or hanger steak. Other lunchtime entrees are appropriately lighter versions of dinner fare.
The dinner menu is the main event. The personality behind the Asian spiced Moularde duck is in the garnish; the orange and soy glaze nails that mystical Oriental combination of salt, sweet, sour and bitter to compliment the meaty texture of the seared slices of duck breast. Seasonal baby turnips are tender without losing their root-ball earthiness and density. Likewise, the roasted beets are tender, rich, and moist and tossed with greens, pistachio, coriander, pressed yogurt and a few crumbles of blue-veined cheese.
The breaded sweetbreads were a little over-fried and under-seasoned. However, the rémoulade with plenty of French pickles helped revive them. Also, the grilled walu (a species of escolar) was well cooked yet under-flavored, and became more about the accompaniments of braised fennel and olive tapenade than the fish itself. The meat sauce of the famous lamb bolognaise was up to its familiar phenomenal standards; however, the pile of house made tagliatelle pasta stuck to itself, making it difficult to twirl and eat the noodles with the sauce. In these cases, the sauces and garnishes carry the dishes, eminently forgivable considering the kitchen has been in operation for only a week.
Of the desserts, the seasonal strawberry and rhubarb crisp is a wonderful scoop of sour, sweet, bitter, delicate and crunch, perfectly refreshed by a spoonful of spicy ginger ice cream. The custard of the crème brİlée is rich and smooth, and the chef clearly uses the good vanilla; it needs a little more crusty sugar brİlée on top. And just as important as the first impression, the good coffee makes a positive last impression.
Servers are educated and articulate about the origins and preparations of the food. Table napkins, stiff with starch, feel regal. The kid's menu incorporates games and puzzles with food themes.
Owner-Chef Pedro Matamoros proclaims his support of local and seasonal produce, going so far as to list a few of the farms and creameries where he sources his bounty. Accordingly, the menus will change appropriate to the season. The wine list casts a wide net over a diverse crowd, with both affordable wines by the glass and heavy hitters in the cellar. The highlights are the dessert wines and ports chosen to be paired with the cheeses and desserts.
8407 Kitchen Bar, which overlooks the future site of the Silver Spring Transit Center, is urban chic. Besides the stark wooden beams, veined marble bar top, uncomplicated music and electric candles, the plate glass windows of the upstairs dining room offer a panoramic view of a robust Silver Spring cityscape, including the lights of passing trains. Sofas and cushions adjacent to the bar downstairs will surely secure a hip lounge crowd.
8407 Kitchen Bar
8407 Ramsey Ave., Silver Spring
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner: 5-9:30 p.m.; Fri. 11:30 a.m.-midnight; lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner 5-10:30 p.m.; Sat. 11:30 a.m.-midnight; dinner: 5-10:30 p.m.; Sun. 5-10:30 p.m.; dinner 5-9 p.m.
Style of cuisine: New American
Standard menu plus bar offering available from open until close.
Standard menu: $5-$16
Lunch menu: soup $6, salads $10-$15, entrees: $14-$17
Dinner menu: Appetizers: $7-$10, entrees $18-$30
Credit cards: All major cards