If you’re interested in my endless, mouthy opinions on fried chicken, look no further. That post there tells you everything you need to know. The chicken deets from this post will be embedded there, along with a link back here.
The Commodore, located on Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg, is a high-class David-Copperfield-style illusion. From the outside – and also from the inside – it’s a dive. It doesn’t even have a sign. It looks like the sort of place that’s been chilling out and doing business since long before Williamsburg started its not-that-long actually-incredibly-fast gentrification journey. The tables are covered in disposable diner-style placemats that spell out your choice of diner-style cocktails, and the place looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since the Reagan administration. In point of fact, The Commodore is a relative newcomer, only occupying its storefront since 2010, and once your eyes adjust to the lighting, you’ll start to notice pinball machines lurking in the corners. The combination of pre-hipster-Williamsburg dirt and resolutely stodgy decor with a menu and amenities perfectly in tune with the tastes of Williamsburg’s poorly dressed, poorly-facial-haired denizens is a stroke of genius on the part of someone clever enough to make this happen.
The vibe follows you to the bar, where you order your drinks and your food from someone who’s gotta be getting paid to act that ticked off. I made my Commodore pilgrimage with five other people, and after the first round I think I’m the only person whose drink wasn’t completely fucked up. I ordered the Trailways, a house special combination of grapefruit juice, vodka and mint that I happily downed all evening. Meanwhile, one friend’s sloe gin fizz seems to have been missing gin, and another’s Tom Collins lacked both sugar and seltzer water. This was legendarily terrible bartending. But any fucks that any of us gave were swept away the moment giant platters of chicken were placed in front of our faces. The Commodore’s basic fried chicken meal is three thighs, some dipping sauces, a biscuit and honey butter. The chicken is heavily battered, overwhelming the plate. It looks like the Ur-fried-chicken platter.
And how does it taste? Man, it is fucking delicious. The chicken is juicy and tender. The batter should be in the dictionary next to a picture of the word “crispy.” Any seasoning is mild, and the dipping sauces are both very pleasant, though unnecessary. This is the sort of plate you dive into and eat your way out of. It’s a good thing. After Monument Lane, this might be my favorite plate of fried chicken in the city. (Bobwhite Counter, I still love you, but you’re a liiiiiittle salty.)
Also, it’s $11. So you can spend the rest of your money on Trailways cocktails. (Seriously, don’t get anything else. By the end of the night half my table was drinking Trailways because it seemed to be the only drink the bartender could reliably make.)
366 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer