Went for my first visit 2 nights ago to 8407. I will admit, I went in with pretty low expectations based on earlier mixed reviews here, followed by radio silence, along with the fact that the only meal I had an Nicaro was very hit or miss (although granted that was when Nicaro was coming to its end). But, I went hoping to be pleasantly surprised and to say I was would be an understatement.
My friend and I had decided to just go and sit at the bar and make a meal out of some appetizers in an effort not to overeat (fat chance). After placing our first order, I walked upstairs just to see the space and immediately regretted our decision. I actually love the exposed brick and wood beams in the bar area, but the bar seating and the unfortunate view out to the taxi stand area leave a little something to be desired, while the upstairs dining area is warm and full of a healthy chatter, with a few select half moon shaped booths that seem like the prize seating. We considered moving, but decided we'd just have to come back to eat upstairs and in the end were perfectly happy with our decision. On to the food!
We started with the deviled eggs, the pork belly-truffle rillette, and the lamb lomo and the duck liver mousse from the charcuterie selection. I'm not a big fan of lamb, but the flavor in the lomo was subtle so I enjoyed. It reminded me a bit of bresaolas I've had in the past though I've no idea if that's an apt comparison. The duck liver mousse was so delicate, in both flavor and texture, I've never had such a silky mousse. It was served as almost a quenelle on the board and came with a few pickled ramps. The deviled eggs were excellent, a nice filling that wasn't overly mayonnaise-y and had a nice tang at the end, topped with bits of smoky bacon and chives. I consider myself something of a deviled egg officianado if I do say so myself
and these were excellent, but the star of this course was definitely the pork belly rillette. Oh man, I could sit down with a large vat of that and a big pile of crostini and eat myself into oblivion. It was smoky, fatty, and salty while still being delicate and creamy. By far the best rillette I've had, served with too few pieces of pickled cauliflower. The bread it came with was mostly crostini, but we did get 2 pieces of what is basically garlic bread with the mousse, which like Dean I found a bit strange.
Off to a good start, we moved on to our next "course", which we intended to be raw oysters and the duck prosciutto, arugula, and apple salad, but the bartender mentioned that they only had 2 fried oysters left, something which were about to be taken off of the menu. I've given up on raw oysters, but fried oysters I love so it was an easy choice, we'd take the last 2. Little did we know this was a dish, not an a la carte thing like the raw (which makes sense in retrospect) so *thankfully* we each got our own plate of 5 fried oysters each, served with a bit of greens and a pickled ramp remoulade. I loved this dish - juicy oysters with a light crisp breading (the bartender said it was some sort of wheat based meal, but I forget the details) that were perfectly cooked and the remoulade was great, lots of tang and chunks of hard-boiled egg in it. And I thought it was more than fairly priced at $10 when each raw oyster was $2 a piece. The salad was fine, but nothing to write home about in my opinion, with the caveat that I don't normally care to order salads in restaurants and only did so because they received good reviews here so that is partially my fault. Absolutely nothing wrong with it, it was dressed nicely and had a good balance of flavors (aside from the general absence of much apple), it just didn't wow me in any way. My friend did also have 2 raw oysters, but I can't comment on those as I didn't eat them.
At this point we were growing quite full, but I was going to have that positively reviewed asparagus salad while it was still in season if it killed me, and my friend really wanted to try the side of potato croquettes with smoked gouda, bacon, and shitake. The asparagus salad lived up to the hype certainly, although as mentioned above the yolk comes out only slightly runny if you care much about that sort of thing. This dish is a perfect example of simple, flavorful ingredients coming together in an exciting way. Which leaves the potato croquettes, 4 golf ball sized bites, the smell of which were amazing as they arrived at the table. The flavor lived up to the aroma, a nice present, but not overpowering smoky flavor alongside the potato and bacon with a wonderfully crispy exterior. My one nitpick is that I found the filling to be a bit gummy, which was tough when they were already so rich. My friend did not have the same complaint though and I do have to take into consideration that at this point we were quite full. They were certainly tasty enough that I would order them again.
Throughout the evening we each had 3 drinks (I had 3 glasses of wine, my friend had a cocktail, a glass of wine, and a draft beer), we left stuffed and our bill still came to a reasonable $132.50 (after tax, before tip).
One last comment about drinks. As I said, I went in with rather low expectations and part of that was the alcohol having read Don's comment about the beer selection and just generally knowing the problems you can run into with Mo Co beer and wine. I'm not sure if our tastes differ, or if 8407 has improved their selection, but I was interested in quite a few of the beers offered. It is still only 4 draft and now 17 bottles, but I liked the selection (the list online appears to be up to date so you can decide for yourself). And I did enjoy the wines I had, the rose from Tavel, the sparkling rose from Italy, and the sauvignon blanc from France, in that order and thought they paired well (I'm inclined to give myself a pat on the back for that one, but I have to credit them for the wines all being food friendly at least
All in all, I found our meal outstanding, service from the bartender was very friendly and for the most part efficient, and I found all of the prices to be quite fair. As a supporter of the local food movement, I am so thrilled that this is a place I will want to go back to repeatedly and I'm happy to have it in my neck of the woods.