Quantum Kitchen & Cocktails, newly reopened, rechristened, and reimagined, is destined to become a comfortable habit. From its American-grill style menu-complete with burgers, fries, and milkshakes-to friendly Converse-clad servers, everything about Quantum is designed to make you feel like lingering. That’s just what owners Cynthia Miranda and Scott Schonzeit want you to do: “We wanted it to be a place where our friends would hang out,” said Schonzeit.
If you remember dining at Quantum in its first incarnation, you’ll likely remember something small and chic, like a shot of chilled white gazpacho. When its adjacent catering business, Mondial, took off, Schonzeit and Miranda decided to convert Quantum to a private restaurant, hosting special occasions, meetings, weddings, and the like. “We had to keep explaining what a private restaurant was to people,” Miranda said. So they revised the concept once again, and invited a bevy of friends and staffers to test-drive the menus and offer feedback.
The result is a restaurant that is approachable and casual, with an almost obsessive commitment to quality. The kitchen still makes almost everything by hand with fresh, local ingredients, many purchased from the Farmers Markets. “We aren’t hand-cutting every single French fry anymore,” Miranda said, “but we are still making them fresh.” This time around, everything is more straightforward. “It’s very down-to-earth,” said Director of Marketing Jillian O’Banion, “just like Cynthia and Scott.”
The clever, well-honed menu literally offers something for everyone. The Kitchen Sink Salad (as in, everything but the 🙂 is a delightful take on the Cobb, with black beans, salsa, guacamole, corn, hominy, and rice that gets even better with the addition of bacon and grilled chicken. Another must is the made-to-order ice-cream sandwich, with fresh McConnell’s ice cream of your choice scooped between two house-baked chocolate-chip cookies. The incredibly thick, moist burgers are outstanding, although the veggie burgers are good enough to convert even the most dedicated carnivore.
Dinner gets a touch more formal and the menu expands to offer steaks and fish entrees. The pickiest eaters are encouraged to create their own in the menu’s outside-the-box section. The wine list is a mix of gems (see the Endangered section for hard-to-find wines) and well-selected imports, and the by-the-glass list leaves nothing to be desired.
Quantum plans to designate Wednesdays as Locals Appreciation Night, with specials and live music. And a regular happy hour-and-a-half (from 5-6:30 p.m.) is in the works. It also serves a late-night menu after 10 p.m., something a lot of locals are sure to appreciate.
This time around the restaurant is, it seems, more comfortable in its skin, due in large part to Schonzeit and Miranda’s decision to keep it a reflection of their lifestyle. “Now we can do exactly what we want to do,” said Miranda, “and do it very well.”
Quantum Kitchen & Cocktails, 201 West Carrillo Street. Lunch, Mon.-Fri.; Dinner, Wed.-Sat. Call 962-5999.