A few months ago, we popped into Draft Republic with some friends and tried these crazy good Crispy Maple Bourbon Bacon Sticks. Pork belly on a stick haha! It was only a matter of time before we returned... which happened to be for San Diego Restaurant Week.
I loved walking into this vivid place. It seemed to be a fun environment with ping pong, pool and foosball tables, all free to play. There are also multiple tvs for watching the games so I can imagine it getting busy during prime hours! They have their own large parking lot which is another positive.
But back to business... we were here to eat, and perhaps play games later. The SDRW lunch menu was only $15 for a two course meal, which includes an appetizer and main entree. The menu is attached at the bottom of post.
Tuna Tataki / crispy wonton, guacamole, fresh origins micro cilantro
We're always interested in seeing different takes on tuna. These seared pieces had a little spice rubbed into the edge. The creamy guacamole sauce gave it a little extra flavor and the chip was fresh. These were bite size but at least you got four of them.
Buffalo Buttermilk Chicken Lollipops / blue cheese ranch, celery sticks
The chicken pieces had a nice char and that familiar buffalo taste on the crust. Inside the meat stayed moist and seemed meaty. Even though Dennis normally isn't a fan of bleu cheese, the bleu cheese dip was pleasing for both of us. It wasn't too strongly flavored and was a creamy addition to the chicken pieces. Not that they needed it anyway!
Southern Fried Chicken / corn bread, apple slaw, sriracha honey
This was an eye-opening sight! All of that chicken in a nifty cast iron? It already looked lovely! There was honey drizzled around the plate, and the cornbread was light and decent. The side of slaw was more vinagrette than mayo-based so we liked it better than other versions, at least for our preferences.
And oh my goodness, the chicken was so juicy with a great fried breading! There was a nice bark and a strong rub with a kick, contrast against the honey. I was pretty surprised this was part of the SDRW lunch menu considering that it cost about $18 on its own. I believe it's a new menu item so they were promoting it early!
Draft Republic Burger / grass-fed beef, american cheese, house-made pickles, potato roll, parmesan herb fries
We also ordered the Draft Republic Burger, though I was very tempted by the portobello mushroom burger (meat won out this time). They use two thinner beef patties separated by cheese but I would have preferred to have a single thicker patty, better for cooking 'medium rare'. They didn't ask about wellness so this is probably the default. The burger is quite simple but still decent, though the bread itself was plain and untoasted. I actually dipped the whole thing in the ketchup and mustard for more bite!
My absolute favorite part of this entree were the fries. Airy, crispy and not oily! The parmesan herb seasoning is lightly dusted, just enough to satisfy my potato stick craving. I inhaled these.
We're also fans of the house mustard and ketchup here. The IPA Mustard has whole mustard seeds and just tastes right to me. The ketchup is mixed with garlic which gives it a delightful but not overpowering bite. These are served in the normal ketchup/mustard bottles except that the nozzles are cut wider to accommodate the chunkier sauces!
Here's the patio area where we had lunch.
Pool table and ping pong table for play.
Mannequins just hanging out!
The food came out extremely fast that day. The SDRW made for a fantastic deal on their food. They also seem to have a pretty good happy hour that goes from 2-6pm daily! We may have to pop back in on a weekend for more bacon on a stick or truffle fries or fried chicken!
4282 Esplanade Court
San Diego CA 92122