Prior to going last night I looked on their website and the overall feel was an inexpensive farm-to-table (yes, that warn-out phrase) concept. They had typical bar food for apps, a few sandwiches, an extremely popular 50/50 (half bacon/half chuck) burger, and then some more sophisticated mains. The great thing about the mains was that they topped out at $20 with most hovering around $15. That was enough to get me in the door as I wasn't really in the mood for bar food or breaking the bank.
Upon arriving I glanced over the menu - all bar food. Apparently last night they implemented a menu overhaul which now primarily consists of sandwiches, burgers and pizza. I know, I'd shudder at those options too and sat miffed for the first 10 minutes. My attitude did a complete 180 when the food arrived.
The 50/50Really not in the mood for a burger or red meat, I ordered a Pastrami sandwich. What's that you say? Pastrami is red meat? Whoops. Kins went for the touted 50/50 burger and she wasn't sorry either. While not the biggest burger in the town, the thing was flipping delicious. I kind of think 50% bacon of anything is a bit much, but somehow the flavor of bacon was more subtle than I would have expected and resulted in one of the better burgers around town. The accompanying fries were excellent - hand cut and on the thick side with a very crispy exterior which broke to the creamy potato innards.
BoomThe burger was enough to impress me, but the Pastrami Sandwich (it deserves to be capitalized) was outrageously good. I know this is a strong statement, but I think it's the best Pastrami (and brisket for that matter) in Atlanta by a long shot - better than General Muir or even the great BBQ options (I think Community Q has the best brisket) around town. The pastrami is smoked/cooked for 12 hours and extremely tender (which is where General Muir falls short) and beautifully seasoned with some unctuous pepper punch in each bite. White cheddar is subbed for the more traditional swiss, and a fresh poppy seed bun replaces the ever-so-common rye - both welcome and improved departures from tradition. Oh, and there's some grilled onions and mustard in the mix too. The sandwich came with pasta salad with a $3 option to add fries. Drafting Table, do yourself a favor - take the pasta off altogether and serve fries or any option of side with your sandwiches.
A few complaints. The Drafting Table is extremely convenient for us to get to. It takes all of five minutes. But the truth is, it's not in the best location and certainly not one people frequent to dine out. We sat outside and within five minutes there was an enormous altercation between a vagrant and a customer that could have very easily ended in a fist fight. That was not inviting. The location also killed off the restaurants original concept and intentions. According the waiter, the menu change was a result of the fact that nobody in that area is interested in farm-to-table (aka higher price point) food. I actually think that the type of customers that would be interested in that type of menu probably have no idea about The Drafting Table altogether. Hell, I thought it was mainly bar grub before even looking at the menu online. Lastly, similar to Hill Street Tavern, this place has a very vague feel - in terms of customer base and atmosphere.
Overall, the food and service at The Drafting Table was excellent. I'd certainly brave the downsides to grab another Pastrami Sandwich.