With yesterday's news of beverage director Steve Oshana's abrupt departure from the newly opened Quench cocktail bar out in Rockville, there was some indication that maybe Rockville wasn't ready yet for the attempt to bring the urban experience out to the suburbs. After all, Oshana explained the split as a result of concessions the restaurant made upon opening to make the restaurant more suburban-friendly. As he told the Washington Post, the community wanted "children’s dishes and highchairs."
Well, owner Michael Holstein takes exception to any notion that Quench is already straying from its urban mission just a week after opening and sent in the following statement, arguing that Rockville is not looking for a more suburban experience and that Quench is still committed to bringing urban nightlife to the area. Also, those highchairs were totally already there. Here's the full statement.
I want to make clear that not one thing regarding our concept or commitment to it has changed. We've added some food items to address seasonal availability, as well as certain requests from our guests, neighbors and Advisory Board — for example, more vegetarian and gluten free food. And because certain liquors and beverage-related items have been difficult to source in Montgomery County, our cocktail menu has been very slightly shortened, but that's it. Quench is, and will always be, committed to delivering an urban drinking, dining and socializing experience to the suburbs. I think our dinner menu is a lot more foodie than it is Friday's. The family-friendly Sunday brunch was always part of our concept.
As for the highchairs, they came with the place when we took it over! I'm fairly certain they've not yet been used by us, but odds are if and when they are, it'll be by someone on our staff, as we all have young children. We are delighted to serve families, but our core values of providing crafted cocktails and creative cuisine remain intact and they always will. I don't think the people of Rockville — of which I'm one — are "looking for a more suburban experience," especially at night and on the weekend, but if a family comes in, of course we're going to happily welcome them. That's why we don't not have a children's menu per se, but we are able accommodate kids dining needs with items like house-made chicken nuggets and mac & cheese. We also have kids with very discriminating palates — one adored our foie gras.
Our mission remains 100% intact, and I think, so far, very well received. Steve's departure is disappointing; I'll miss him personally and professionally and I know he'll continue to do great things. But our current bar staff — including bartenders and mixologists from Volt, Bourbon, the Bombay Club and the Dickson is 100% capable of carrying on the mission and continuing to innovate. In particular, Matt Allred is more than ready for the challenge.