I'm surprised that no one has commented yet.
I finally went to Commodore this evening for a drink and some food. It's been on my list since the buzz got started. Overall, it's fine...not a destination but a solid option in the area.
Some highs: 2 for 1 beers at happy hour. Had 2 anchor steams for $5...not a bad way to start. As for food, the 'adult cheese' is gluttonously delicious. Loads of bechamel sauce, perfectly goo-y sandwich...$6...a winner. The mixed tomato salad was great. $6 for a big bowl of various farm fresh tomatoes and some type of cheddar cheese.
The loser of the bunch was the fried chicken. $10 for 3 large pieces and 3 smallish biscuits. The biscuits were chewy but good. The chicken was underseasoned and pretty oil-y. I don't mind oil-y if the seasoning was there but it was rather bland. id skip that.
Bartender was very friendly, a bit dark for 630pm but overall, a decent meal.
i ate here last summer and it was OK. the salad had those great garlic pickles that someone else mentioned, so i enjoyed it. the "adult cheese" is made with pimiento and hmm, maybe serranos or something for a kick. i wasn't expecting it to be so gooey and when i picked it up, half the filling fell onto my plate. thank god for knives & forks!
Funny. I had the exact opposite opinion about the fried chicken. It was moist without being the slightest bit oily. The crisp coating was perfectly seasoned. My spicy chicken sandwich was a wildly generous portion that was juicy and aggressively spicy.
I thought Sietsema's review was spot on.
re: Bob Martinez
Agree on Chk + in general. (Prefer the hot thigh to hot breast sandwich.) The food at Commodore is surprisingly good. And at 1990 prices.
Also recommended -- the hominy stew (basically posole); chilaquiles; black-eyed pea dish; salad. Burger is classic of (bar burger) form; fries are fine.
What's less good -- the kids don't seem to mind but the cocktails I've had are too sweet. Wish they'd go one notch more artisanal at the bar. (W/ getting annoying about it.)
Wish also they'd do a takeout window for lunch!
re: Bob Martinez
On Friday night I made it back to the Commodore with my GF. Back in September I'd had their hot chicken sandwich and thought it was one of the best things I'd eaten all year. I was looking forward to a rematch. Our timing was impeccable - a table had just opened up and we slid into our seats just as the place began to get crowded.
We knew the drill - I stepped up to the bar to order food and drinks while my GF defended the table. Alas, the tasty pinto beans and pork dish that I sampled last time wasn't on the menu. Instead they had black eyed peas - I passed. We both ordered the hot chicken sandwich and split the giant plate of fries for $3.
The room was filled with young men who looked like lumberjacks and their molls. We sipped our beers; the people watching was choice.
Ten minutes later the food came out. My GF was impressed by the amount of fries but found them soggy. She's more exacting about fries than me - I thought they weren't crisp but otherwise they were fine. The biscuits were excellent. Our sandwiches looked great - giant juicy pieces of chicken plunked down on sesame seeded potato rolls. (For those of you scoring at home these are Big Marty's. If they weren't widely available in supermarkets they'd be a cult item. *Any* sandwich tastes better made with a Big Marty.)
Unfortunately the kitchen sabotaged itself by putting a punishing amount of hot sauce on the sandwiches. They were barely edible. I don't know if there's any thought process behind this sledgehammer approach other than pure stupidity. Nobody likes their sandwiches this way. Nobody. This is pure macho bullshit.
We mentioned the insane heat level to our server (a ringer for a young Laraine Newman) and she told us that you can order the hot sauce on the side. This was the equivalent of being told that you don't need to pick up the red hot frying pan with your hands, you can request a pot holder.
You have now all been officially warned. My GF is carrying a grudge about the meal. For my part I'd go back in a month or so but I'd follow Laraine's advice and wouldn't let the lunatic in the kitchen ruin my sandwich.
re: Bob Martinez
You can now order the hot breast medium, mild, or hot. Recently I got the hot and while I enjoyed it, it was pretty darn hot. (Hotness level that I imagine Prince's in Nashville to be. Nearly inedible for normal people.) This evening I took out and got the medium. In the abstract I could have used *slightly* more spice but it was perfectly satisfying. Maybe next time I'll go medium w/ hot sauce on side. And I wish the hot thigh would make a reappearance.
(My wife got the mild and was happy.)
Maybe they read your post -- although Tanner doesn't seem all that susceptible to feedback. Any case your issue has been addressed.
Rest of food remains solid to excellent.
re: Bob Martinez
Last night my GF and I scheduled a rematch at Commodore. After a very successful first visit our second had not gone well. Our sandwiches had been drowned in insanely hot sauce. A friend had the same experience. This time round we figured we'd change our tactics.
We got there at 8:00PM - the place was almost full but there were a few free tables. There's a big sign that says "Seat Yourself." We did. Their procedures haven't changed - you order your food from the bar and pay up front. Then they give you a number in a plastic stand that you place on your table so the servers know where to drop off your food.
On the current menu the chicken sandwiches can be ordered at 2 heat levels - medium and hot. This time around we chose medium and asked for additional hot sauce on the side. It was a smart choice.
Ten minutes after we ordered our sandwiches got delivered. It turns out that "medium" means no heat at all. This wasn't a problem because the small cup of sauce that accompanied the sandwiches could light up a small town. We daubed it on carefully like we were working with liquid plutonium. Presto - sandwiches that were hot enough to please two people who regularly eat Sichuan food.
The chicken still has a crispy exterior and the inside is nice and juicy. The Martin's potato roll is robust enough to stand up to the hefty pieces of chicken. We ordered a large order of fries on the side and were rewarded with a plate bigger than we both could finish. It probably could have fed 4 people. This time around they were crispy - an improvement over our previous visit. This is very simple food but it's well executed and very satisfying.
Commodore remains a weird place. It's like eating at a restaurant in a hipster Renaissance Faire where the staff and patrons dress in costumes and follow their own customs. There's still no external sign and the people watching is choice.
The cheese burger and fries are solid. I had a corn and tomato salad--with garlic pickle in it!--that was really good (and replicable at home, more-or-less). The saltie potato salad is delicious for a few bites--bacon-y!!, but also extremely intense.
I LOVE the bourbon cooler and the trailways (grapefruit, vodka, sugar and ?)
Also, the music pleased me.