I see your dilemma here but by thought process moves to UX. If the UI was consistent on tablet and desktop then you wouldn’t have this issue at all.
One of the big things we are noticing is a shift to mobile (obviously), so why not make a decision on a UX and stick by it rather than having a different display for tablet and desktop.
By streamlining the UX it will result in less code, less media queries, faster page load (huge plus) and a unified experience for your users.
Just a thought.