Bessie's Best: Excellent Fried Chicken in Upscale Hipster Dive at The Commodore in Williamsburg

The Commodore
The Commodore
Photo: Village Voice

Warning: This review exclusively praises fried chicken, retro hipster vibes, and drinks that come out of a blender. This is not because the other items at The Commodore in Williamsburg aren’t delicious, but because the fried chicken and blended drinks are so damn good.

Fried Chicken and Biscuits
Fried Chicken and Biscuits
Photo: Sara S

First, the fried chicken at The Commodore is the best I’ve had in NYC. I keep coming back here and swear I’ll order another main dish, but I just can’t. The order comes with four generous pieces of fried chicken goodness and three mini-biscuits. It also comes with a helping of vinegar-based hot sauces that taste homemade, which complements rather than smothers the taste of the very crispy chicken. The chicken skin somehow has this twice-fried quality and volume that I can’t quite explain, yet devour against my better judgment knowing about the adverse health effects. An extra piece of crispy peppery chicken skin literally hangs off each piece like a bonus addition to the perfectly tender meat. The biscuits also come with a honey butter that tastes like it was made from scratch. Perfect.

Interior
Interior
Photo: BK Mag

Second, The Commodore most definitely is a hipster joint going for a divey retro vibe. Old arcade games, CRT TVs, leather booths, and neon colors in the mix give it almost kind of late 1980s feel. It feels like diners I’ve been in the rural Southwest but also a with weird Miami feel because of the white patio furniture in outdoor seating area and the copious amount of what appear to be tropical plants. They bump a range of music from John Denver to Green Day to complete the atmosphere.

Planters punch and the commodore (their piña colada)
Planters punch and the commodore (their piña colada)
Photo: Aisha M

Third, they appear to specialize in kitschy blended drinks. I would not normally order pina coladas and blended mojitos, but I feel unnaturally drawn to get them when I am at the Commodore. Strong and refreshing, I love sipping out of the ridiculously large glass with my plate of fried chicken. They also have a selection of beers should you so desire as well.

On paper, The Commodore should feel sleazy, obnoxious, or insufferably over-the-top, but for some reason it doesn’t. I think it’s because of the genuine quality of the food. Formerly of Pies 'n' Thighs, chef Stephen Tanner runs the kitchen. Awesome place to start out a night in Williamsburg.

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