Up until a year ago, if I heard the words "Der Kommissar," I would immediately think of After the Fire and get the song stuck in my head. I'd be willing to bet that the same thing just happened to more than a few of the people reading this post. Last year, though, a bar called Der Kommissar opened here in Park Slope, and immediately became one of my favorite places in the neighborhood. Sure, its German/Austrian menu is sausage-heavy, but there are lots of good (and cheap) foods for vegetarians to partake of.
No matter what else you get, make sure you order a pretzel ($2). This is no twisted, crunchy snack fodder. The pretzel at Der Kommissar is large, loaf shaped, and pillowy soft. It's very good on its own, especially with a large dose of spicy mustard. For $5 though, you can get it with blue cheese or liptauer cheese. I chose the liptauer—a mouth-puckering sharp, spreadable cheese with chunks of celery and onion. The vegetable bits made it seem like a cheese-infused thousand island dressing, in a good way.
I also got a coupe of sides along with the pretzel. The potato salad ($2) is mercifully pork-free, unusual in my experience. The dressing here is vinegar-based in the German style, rather than the standard mayo. Cucumber salad ($2) is cooling and only slightly acidic, but otherwise unremarkable.
To my surprise, Der Kommissar also serves vegetarian sausage ($6.50) from Field Roast. The price is a little exorbitant, as you can buy a package of four Field Roast sausages for the same price at a grocery store. But here the sausage is crisped on the griddle and then served on a bun, here with a side of sauerkraut. The kraut is soft and very acidic—my recommendation is to pile the cabbage into the sandwich, add a squirt of that spicy mustard, and dig in.
Der Kommissar559 5th Ave, Brooklyn NY 11215 (map)
About the author: Howard Walfish is a Virginia native who has been living in New York since 2003. He is, in fact, a vegetarian, and is the co-founder of Eat to Blog and the creator of BrooklynVegetarian.