Continuing my quest to eat at, and write about, every new restaurant in DC, I recently visited Drafting Table, named after the desks architects use to sketch designs on.
I liked Drafting Table, but as a true architecture nerd, I wanted to love it. The decorations were all right: wood tables you could sketch on, swivel chairs, industrial lighting, and photos of famous architects. But Drafting Table clearly struggled with translating the concept into a menu that makes sense. Some of the options follow the theme, including the delicious Kaya Toast, an appetizer of toast sticks shaped like Lincoln Logs, with an eccentric but tasty mix of coconut jam, fried eggs, and soy broth. The Falafel and (huge) Mixed Pickle Platter were both good, but didn't fit particularly well with the rest of the menu, which includes mussels, a burger, an egg sandwich, brisket, and fish 'n' chips. Actually, you could pick any of those and say the same thing: they're interesting but not consistent with each other or Drafting Table's theme.
Of course, consistency isn't everything. If the food was great, I could care less how the pieces fit together. But what I tried was only OK, which seems consistent with what Yelp and other reviewers have said. The Beer Braised Brisket was closer to beef stew than traditional brisket, and I think the dry version would have been better. The Draftsman Burger, with brisket, blue cheese, apricot chutney, and carmelized bacon & onion on top, sounded better than it was. It was a lot of stuff on an average burger. The fries were totally delicious but came with the scourge of every new restaurant, "house made ketchup," which tasted nothing like ketchup and was too sweet to cut the fries' salt. Heinz would have been cool with me.
Drafting Table has some promise, but it's not nearly good enough yet. I hope they clean up the menu a bit and focus on what they do best, whatever that may be. Until then, we'll move on the next new thing.
More new restaurant reviews at: www.firstbitedc.com
Drafting Table Details
Tips: (1) the tables near the bar are communal and service is from the bar (and a bit sketchy); (2) Brunch on weekends; (3) not a cocktail place, but they have a decent beer list.
Address: 1529 14th St. NW
Metro: McPhereson (Blue/Orange) or Dupont (Red), either about 6 blocks away
Hours: Mon - Wed: 4 pm - 11 pm; Thurs: 4 PM - Midnight; Fri: 4 PM - 2 AM; Sat: 10 AM - 2 AM; Sun: 10 AM - Midnight