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First came the gastropub, an import from Britain featuring upmarket pub grub in an ale-drinking setting. Now, welcome the gastrodive, which further blurs the lines between restaurant and bar. The Commodore in Williamsburg, with its old arcade games, Schlitz in a can and stereo pumping out the Knight Rider theme song, offers the city’s best cheap-ass bar eats, served in a seedy venue where folks come to get blotto. The short menu—with descriptions as curt as the service you’ll encounter while ordering your food from the bartender—reads like a classic collection of fryolator junk. But the “hot fish” sandwich, for one, is a fresh, flaky, cayenne-rubbed catfish fillet poking out of both sides of a butter-griddled sesame-seed roll. “Pork du jour” turned out to be two soft buns filled with a delicious mix of pinto beans, sweet-spicy barbecued pork and vinegary slaw. Chef Stephen Tanner, formerly of Egg and Pies ’n’ Thighs, heads the kitchen, cooking up fried chicken that trumps even that of his former employers—three fat thighs with extra-crisp, peppery skin and tender brined flesh, served with thimbles of sweet-and-spicy vinegar sauce and biscuits with soft honey butter. Even the thick fries are a superior product—right in the sweet spot between soggy and crisp. While the Commodore, with its fatty foods and blender drinks, would hardly qualify as a destination for dieters—the house libation is a frozen piña colada—Tanner and his crew do a fine job of keeping vegetarians happy. In addition to the creamy, gooey “adult cheese” sandwich—oozing pimento cheese made in house with poblano peppers—there are beautiful seasonal salads and vegetable sides (lemony rainbow chard and buttermilk-dressed snap peas on one recent visit). The Commodore serves no dessert—the only sweet stuff on hand is slushy booze. But if you keep on drinking and require more sustenance, Tanner’s got you covered with a fortifying bowl of posole—exceptional hangover preemption, thick with hominy and tender poached chicken.
366 Metropolitan Ave
|Cross street:||between Havemeyer and Macy Sts|
|Transport:||Subway: J, Z, M to Marcy Ave; L to Bedford Ave; G to Metropolitan|
|Price:||Average main course: $9. AmEx, Disc, MC, V.|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 4pm-midnight; Fri-Sun 4pm-1am|
|Do you own this business?|