Georgia native and fried-chicken virtuoso Stephen Tanner co-founded the original Pies-N-Thighs and then sold his interest in the restaurant a few years back. Before that, he cooked at Diner, and post-P-N-T, at Egg,
which, in the realm of Brooklyn gastronomy, makes him somewhat of a
seminal figure in his adopted Williamsburg. At the Commodore, he’s cooking what might be the best cheap bar food in town. The chicken arrives with three substantial thighs to a plate, with hot sauce, tender mini-biscuits, and honey butter. It’s hot and juicy, with a craggy crust that crackles resoundingly when you bite into it, the way a good croissant does. In short, it’s among the best fried chicken in town. But there is much more to Tanner’s brief menu. There is, for instance, the “adult cheese” sandwich, a pimento-and-poblano assemblage of such perfect creamy, crispy texture and rich, tangy flavor that it might be too fine to waste on the neighborhood’s booming toddler population. Other elevated pub grub includes a vinegary pulled-pork sandwich, a towering, satisfying, and well-dressed burger, first-rate fries, and two soupy stews: a fragrant green-chile posole with chicken, and the “black-eyed pea surprise!,” in which a biscuit or hunk of cornbread is drowned in legumes. He must have the vegetarian-locavore constituency in mind with plates like springy sautéed rainbow chard and snap peas with hard-cooked egg.
The clientele seems drawn in, in large part, by the kitschy cocktails (the house drink is a piña colada with an amaretto float) and cheap beer, the weekend D.J., and the festive vibe. There are video games and one of those faceless cardboard cutouts depicting King Kong and Fay Wray, popular among carnivalgoers. (For those looking to sit and enjoy the food, the four back-room booths are your best bet.)
Fried chicken with biscuits and “Saltie” potato salad or “adult cheese” sandwich and green-chile hominy.