Inspiration for the interior of Silver Spring’s hot new draw came about a year ago, when Nancy Hart Mola looked across the street from the future 8407 Kitchen Bar and spotted a bunch of trees.
“I want a living color,” she told people. “I want an outside color inside.” Hence the soothing green (and red brick) walls of the two-story restaurant where the general manager and chef Pedro Matamoros, former associates at the nearby Nicaro, now find themselves.
Why did Matamoros leave what appeared to be a sure thing? “Better location,” says the chef, who first made a name for himself at the venerable Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle. 8407 Kitchen Bar is across the street from a Metro station and half a block from the Discovery Communications headquarters.
Matamoros, 41, says he also was eager to cook “simple food, not fancy.” His new menu has a hamburger and a Cuban sandwich sharing space with gnocchi and roast chicken, but he hasn’t dropped all his old ways: That pasta is made from scratch, and that bird comes with a lavender gastrique.
8407 Kitchen Bar begins as a chic lounge on the ground floor and turns into a dining room (with a second bar, pretty in marble) upstairs. The space is lovely, and relaxing. A bank of windows pulls in lots of light, and the communal table is illuminated by a light fixture that resembles a fireworks shower.
A plea to the chef: Could you go easy on the sweeteners? Spiced duck breast atop cloying lentils is one of several plates that could use more restraint. But kudos to Matamoros for garnishing his plump fried oysters with fiery kimchi, and for bothering to bake the crackers used to scoop up his pickled shrimp. Served in a Mason jar, it’s crafty comfort food.