8th Street Wine Company 

It took two visits for me to figure out what to think about the 8th Street Wine Co. My first visit left me in limbo so I decided to give them a second chance.

Visit No. 1: My date and I dined on a Sunday night. The servers were extremely friendly and accommodating. It was really good to see Joe from Mosaic behind the bar. The place has a ton of space and they make good use of it. It has a modern, very comfortable vibe.

I liked the wine list categories: "supple and sexy" and "bright and sassy" reds. My usual spending range tends to fall within $6-$8 for a glass of wine and there just weren't many offerings in that range. The bar was unfortunately out of many of the glasses I wanted to get, but the waitress was very knowledgeable and made good recommendations.

We started with the Caesar salad ($6.95). It was huge and the dressing was delicious, but if you don't like a large pool of it, I suggest you order it on the side. I was eager to try the pate with crostini ($4.95) and it was good, although a bit over-chilled, making it difficult to spread. It was excellent paired with a glass of Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Chile ($7.75 per glass).

I had the Maple-Chile Salmon ($15.95), a big filet with maple-chile glaze, served with lemon-zested mashed potatoes and mixed veggies. My salmon was overcooked, the center flaky and on the dry side. The lemon mashers were excellent with bites of salmon but on their own were overpowering. The snow peas in the mixed veggies were overcooked and soft. My date had Kelsey's Cairo Chicken ($13.95) and while the dish looked mouthwatering and delectable on the menu, it failed to wow us on the plate. Adding to the disappointment, the garlic mashers served with it were cold.

The highlight of our dining experience was dessert. We ordered bread pudding with bananas, chocolate, currants and a hard bourbon-caramel sauce ($7.95). The bread pudding goes beyond the boundaries of decadence and I will definitely return to indulge in it again.

Visit No. 2: My friends and I visited for lunch and were shocked at how completely disinterested our waitress was. This was especially disappointing because the service just two days before had been excellent.

I tried the house salad ($5.95) and was so under-wowed I didn't finish it. We ordered the coconut risotto side ($3.95) to share and again were under-wowed. I had the Tokyo shrimp with noodles ($11.95) and was disappointed to find the shrimp overcooked and tough, and nothing special about the noodles. The highlight of this visit was a crock of French onion soup ($7.95). The broth was excellent, the onions soft and tasty. We also ordered pork carnitas tacos ($7.95), which offered very tender and well-seasoned shredded pork.

My final impression from my dining experiences at 8th Street is that the food is hit or miss. I expected more, but I enthusiastically recommend it as a great place to go for a bottle of wine and decadent dessert.

--Rachel Abrahamson believes indulging in the decadent is important to living a happy, healthy life.

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