I’ve been going to Commodore for years now. It has great happy hour (3 dollars for good stuff like Harpoon, in a neighborhood where it’s not unusual to pay 6), and is a convenient ride home for both me and my friend who lives in Park Slope. But until yesterday I had never ordered any of the food. I was tempted, but always held out for Oasis on the grounds that it was cheaper and still quite good. Contrary to popular belief, the best thing to get at Oasis is not actually falafel but roasted cauliflower. Put that shit in sandwich form, add a little babaganoush, all the pickled vegetable fixins, hot sauce, and you are good to go. Normally, a trip to Commodore ends here, white sauce dripping down to my elbows, bits of pickled onion flecking my face, hoping I don’t run into someone I know.
But yesterday was kind of a rough day at work. I had 4 hours of meetings, during which I learned via text message that our van had been stolen, and then recovered, miraculously, very soon after, and I have to do all kinds of work this week to prepare for going away but I couldn’t because of the meetings, and my assistant just quit, and somehow all these factors converged to lead me to say fuck it, today is the day I go to Commodore and actually get food. Treat yo self. At first I thought I might go for something really decadent like fried chicken or a brisket dip, both dishes I had eyed lustfully in the past, but the menu had changed since my last visit and something new caught my eye. A braised mushroom sandwich, with grilled greens, onion jam, gruyere, and spicy mustard. I felt a little better about eating something containing vegetables, and I was intrigued by the idea of braising mushrooms. It seemed like it would be really good. At very least worth a shot.
It wasn’t just good. This sandwich was fucking impeccable. At nine dollars, I winced a little, but it was well worth the price. Unless you are really ravenously hungry, this sandwich is a two-person job. The bread is toasted to a perfect crisp, and nicely soaks up the juices of the mushrooms and greens. The mushrooms themselves have a chewy, meaty texture which by itself would be too much, but it is balanced nicely by the greens, which maintain just a bit of crisp from the grilling process. If someone gave you a plate of just these greens by themselves, you’d be real happy. The braising process sort of dries out the mushrooms and concentrates their flavor. The mustard hits you at the very end, ever so slightly reminiscent of the pickled mustard greens at Excellent Pork Chop House. They give you a pretty thick slice of gruyere, which doesn’t quite melt all the way but adds a salty, nutty tang to the sandwich. The onion jam mostly just registers as sweet, but it blends really well with the mushrooms. Overall, this sandwich is balanced and satisfying and kind of messy. It feels decadent. It hits the spot.
When you eat a good sandwich, all your problems are still right where you left them. But you are elevated, removed. They can’t hurt you anymore. Eat this sandwich.