Update: This restaurant has closed since this review
If parents were put on Earth to embarrass their children in their tween and teen years, then certainly older sisters were made to step into this role as younger siblings enter their 20s.
I am a prime example of this behavior, exhibited in full force now that my baby brother is in law school in D.C. I constantly ask him to hang out with me and my friends, and I drop hints that anytime his friends want a hip, older, and wiser wing woman, I’m their girl. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for that invite to arrive (any day now, I’m sure) so I’ve resorted to alternative means to get some QT in with the bro.
Philip is always more likely to spend time with his sister if there’s nourishment involved. He is a law school student living off Natty Boh and turkey sammies, after all. I had been looking for an excuse to head out to Quench, a 2013 Bitches favorite, to sample the restaurant’s quality comfort brunch food. I was already a fan of the restaurant, and word on the street was their new chef Ed Hardy (trained under foodie rock-star Marcus Samuelsson) had improved an already great menu. So, we made plans.
We walked into Quench on a snowy Saturday morning, and immediately felt at home. Owner Michael Holstein personally ensures that a fantastic playlist is always in rotation, and the staff is extremely welcoming. We took a seat in a cozy corner booth and took a gander at the extensive cocktail list that put Quench in the running for Restaurant Association of Maryland’s Best Cocktails. With so many delicious concoctions to choose from, we deferred to our server after sharing some of our beverage preferences. He found the perfect drink for our individual palates, a talent I truly admire.
My hubbie, Justin, started with The Back Porch, which married his other loves of spice and bourbon. Philip was presented with the Ramos Gin Fizz, which essentially looked like a delicious cloud in a highball glass. After peering at the drink suspiciously for a few minutes, baby bro took his first sip and immediately converted to a serious, reflective demeanor.
After a few moments of worrying I’d ruined my shot at another sibling brunch date via molecular gastronomy, he said, “You know when you taste something and are immediately reminded of a specific place or memory? This drink tastes exactly like the orange creamsicle popsicles we used to eat as kids.” Brunching and reminiscing? Perfect sibling bonding time.
I was presented with a special concoction inspired by the Bitches Who Brunch, a fizzy combination of lychee and rose purée, vodka, lemon, and Prosecco known as the Bitches’ Brew. It was bubbly and light, which was needed as we were presented with the first of several amazing dishes. Anytime you head to Quench for brunch, you can order the Bitches Brew!
We started with the brulee grapefruit, which was exactly as the name described. The sweetness of the crunchy sugar balanced out the sour citrus taste perfectly. We quickly negated this healthful effort when a bowl of doughnut holes arrived at the table piping hot and smelling amazing.
Between bites and dunks into the chocolate sauce, we agreed that the holes tasted like mini funnel cakes. My only issue is there wasn’t enough chocolate sauce to go around, but in hindsight that was for the best. Our meal had only just begun.
We decided to order another round of drinks, guised as an effort to pace ourselves pre-entrees. I felt it was my duty as a journalist and brunch snob to try at least one more item from the drink menu. While the boys opted for classic cocktails, I went rogue with the Honey Badger, a drink comprising beets and tequila—two of my favorite things.
Yes, you read that correctly; and yes, I found it wonderful. Although my companions did not agree. The drink managed to be refreshing, tangy, and spicy with every sip, but as a veggie lover I can’t vouch for its mass appeal.
For our entrees, we decided to split several eye-catching menu items. I had been eyeing a delicious egg and salad option, but the reaction from my fellow diners was not unlike if I’d suggested we gnaw on some raw cabbage instead, so I jumped on the decadent bandwagon. When in Rome … or Rockville.
First up, the house-made biscuits and gravy. This was my personal favorite, as the sausage was plentiful and the gravy had a distinct, smoky flavor. I didn’t eat much of the biscuits, as the sauce and toppings were the true stars of the dish.
Next came the ‘hot-mess’ grits. The name is misleading, as this dish was pure perfection. The grits were creamier than any I had tasted going to school in the South; we later found out Chef gets his grits all the way from South Carolina. The bowl was topped off with bacon and a perfectly cooked egg.
Last but not least, we ordered the chicken and waffles, as Philip had never experienced this crème-de-la-crème of brunch before. Quench set the bar very high for all other chicken and waffle experiences for young Philip. The chicken was crispy but not overly breaded, so we were able to taste the juicy meat. While the plate came with the standard side of syrup, I preferred the zesty tabasco butter on my waffle.
Eventually, we let out a collective sigh and said we couldn’t possibly eat another bite. As if summoned by a dare, Chef Ed appeared with a straight-from-the-oven cinnamon roll, approximately the size of my head. The dish was so decadent we couldn’t resist digging in.
I have very high standards when it comes to frosted baked goods, and this roll surpassed my expectations. To wash it down, we were given a taste of the Hot Buttered Rum. It was the ideal final note on a great spread of comfort foods.
We sat and enjoyed our cozy corner a bit longer, bid farewell to our new friends behind the bar and in the kitchen, and waddled out the door. Quench proved to be the perfect place to catch-up with loved ones over inventive (warning: and strong) cocktails and food prepared with a lot of care and quality ingredients.
The Bitches say A+; we can’t wait to go back!
9721 Traville Gateway Drive.
Quench serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays.