Food & Drink

Q&A: Brett David, Creative Director of Leave Rochelle Out of It [NYC]

by Kayleigh Clark

rochelles bar

The Lower East Side is a go-to destination for those who want a fun, and sometimes sloppy, night out.  Leave Rochelle Out of It, or Rochelle’s, is the perfect place to make bad decisions–it even says so on their t-shirts!  But Rochelle’s is more  than just a whiskey bar and they’ve revamped their menu just in time for warmer weather.  I had the chance to ask Brett David, the creative director, a few questions–including the story behind the name.  Check it out below, and then go and try the food and drinks for yourself!  I for one can’t wait to try their Banh Mi and an Old Fashioned–right up my alley!


What prompted the change in the menu?

The menu changed to open up for a lighter taste to reflect the change of seasons. Our burger is not as heavy as the winter version, and it’s selling even better than our last one, which was a huge hit.

What’s your favorite dish?

My favorite dish is hands down our whiskey wings. Our signature from my chef Julia Gersuk, and if you’re short on napkins, it makes a hell of a mustache wax as well.

What would you recommend–food + drink–to someone who has never been to Rochelle’s?

I would tell them to try our Banh Mi – it’s a classic Vietnamese sandwich with duck confit and I’d top it off with an Old Fashioned – people always respond well to them and say we make the best downtown. With Rye I would say Tempelton, and the Bulleit is great. For Bourbon it’s always a win with Town Branch and Johnny Drum.

Can you describe Rochelle’s–the vibe/scene?

Our custom t-shirts read “Bad Decisions Served Nightly”. That sums up only part of our vibe and scene. We are all about true and classic hospitality, with our staff giving you what you want and how you want it. No pretense, and good times served your way. You also might make out with the girl or guy you just met twenty minutes ago, or you may take advantage of the great variety of people that come in and land your dream job over Daddy Issues (our signature cocktail). Either way, you’re bound to close the deal.

Can you tell us about the story behind the name?

My co-creative director Stephen Yorsz and I go back almost 10 years. While we are 90% totally different, he said to me after our parent company, The Line Group, agreed to open the bar with us, “Brett, we need a name for this place – it needs to be something we share in common, something mutual between us.” I responded, “Steve, we have a Hundred things in common, but let’s leave Rochelle out of it.” (FYI – we both dated her, in 2008 and 2010 respectively). And so, a legend was born.

Is there anything else you’d like us to mention about the new menu?

The new menu is more of an ode to international street food. We do great veggie dishes like our Shishito peppers, and our plantain chips and chimichuri, and our daily tacos can ALWAYS be made veggie. We are a whiskey bar first and for-most, but if you need to soak up all those drinks, why not do it with quality ingredients in our fantastic dishes. The cab fare home tomorrow – let’s leave us out of it.


205 Chrystie Street
New York, NY 10002