Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Sunday at the Sausage Kitchen
pros: great sausage selection, fries are omg! good
cons: price point on the sausages are a little much if you are on a recession budget, no diet coke, limited topping selection
overall: good for a treat now & again. the fries are the winner here.
Wurstküche is one of those places that I've seen developing in the Arts District over the past year & was looking forward to its grand opening. The owners are restaurateurs from San Francisco that wanted to bring their idea for a gourmet sausage restaurant to LA. They've worked hard on refurbishing this location in the Arts District over this last year. When their November opening arrived, I was happy to hear about it, but I wasn't spending as much time meandering around the Arts District and put off going there.
I kept hearing good things about it though, and so while trying to figure out where to try something 'new' Sunday, it was decided Wurstküche would be the place.
First thing I want to say is that I'm not a hotdog fan. These aren't hotdogs though, these are gourmet sausages. It's not Pink's (thank goodness) but it's not Jerry's Dogs either.. In some ways that's better and in some ways, it's not.
For those not familiar with Jerry's they have a limited choice of sausages (and regular hotdogs too) and a gazillion topping choices.. their gourmet coupling is the homemade potato chips. Good stuff and filling.. So they have a limited number of items and do it well. They're also in Orange County which is like.. far away if you don't have a car.
Getting back to Wurstküche, their niche is the gourmet sausage. You can exercise your curious palette with some 20 different sausages from standard Italian to the more exotic rattlesnake & rabbit, or a duck & bacon sausage.
you can see what your meat options are before you order..
The price point on your sausage varies on creativity.. While the Italian will run about $6, a mango jalapeno will run $6.75 and the more adventurous "exotics" are $7.75 and regardless what you order, you get a 2 topping option. That's it. If you're going for the more exotic, you may not want to cover up the flavor with onions and peppers though. If you want mustard, they have at least 5 kinds.
I've heard the best thing to do when you want to see how someone does it, is to go with what you know is good.. In other words, I like brats and are familiar with them, and so comparing apples to apples I think is good for a first visit. I chose grilled onions and 'spicy peppers' for my 2 toppings. They do have sauerkraut as an option but I wasn't craving it for whatever reason.
SeanYoda had the Louisiana Hot with grilled onions and sweet peppers. Along with the sausages, a large order of Belgian Fries and a couple sodas rounded out the order. The lunch total with tax (not including tip) came to about $30.
Reed's Spiced Apple Brew and the Fentimans Ginger Beer
Louisiana Hot and the Classic Bratwurst with aforementioned toppings.
You get a number and take your drink to your table & wait for them to grill your food and bring it out fresh & hot. There's a small counter in the order area, but if you go down the hall the larger dining room has abundant seating available.
We noted someone working on their laptop, and so when our food was delivered I inquired about wifi. While wifi is not available, if you happen to pick up Little Tokyo Unplugged.. well, you're lucky.
Along with ample seating in the back is a bar where they have several bottled and draft options. The non-alcohalic drinks run familiar to classic soda drinks like Moxie and Fentimans. There is no Diet Coke or diet anything. They do, however, have bottled water. I opted for the Reed's Spiced Apple Brew, and Sean got the Fentiman's Ginger Beer.
I hadn't tried the Reeds before.. it was super sweet and had a fresh super crisp apple flavor that made me think of chunky applesauce. Sean said it made him think of apple pie. I highly recommend the Reeds. The Fentiman's was your classic ginger beer. Either way good choices. You may want to drink slowly though as each bottled beverage runs from $2 for bottled water to an average of $3.50 to $5 for bottled sodas.
As for the sausages, they were both good. $6 each for a couple of classic sausages I thought was a bit much. They tasted on par with my favorite place,Top Dog (in Berkeley,CA) but while Top Dog is also grilled & served straight off the grill the price point is a little more palatable. We were also a little disappointed they don't offer much in the way of toppings, the ones they do have are ok. I found 'spicy peppers' on my bratwurst to not be spicy, but rather mundane. It was still good, just not what I was expecting. The brat was hot and fresh and had good flavor.
As for Sean's Louisiana Hot, it was a nice spice blend but not what I'd call hot, unless they meant it was served piping hot off the grill (which it was). Still good stuff, just not "OMG! best sausage ever!" For classics, though, I can't complain.
While we weren't bowled over with the sausages, we did agree that the Belgian fries are what would bring us back.
Belgian fries are made fresh, sprinkled with kosher salt, and served in a paper bag. You get a choice of one dipping sauce for a small order, or 2 dipping sauces for a large. The next problem is choosing what two of the 10 different flavors do you want.
We chose the pesto mayo and the chipotle ketchup. While I had a little trouble making my mind up which of the two I liked better, I think the pesto mayo won out.
As for the fries they are good on their own, crispy golden on the outside and soft potato goodness on the inside. Not mushy at all, (but one would hope not with these thick cut fries). I don't salt my food, so the sea salt was almost a little too salty for me, but I think that most fries aficionados will find the salt just enough.
I've heard folks come here regular, and I can see why but I don't see myself doing it. I definitely want to come back and have the mango jalepino which was my first choice before deciding to do with something simple & familiar. I like aligator and I'd like to see how they do it.. but that'll be for another day as well. The price point doesn't endear me to sneaking off to eat here on my own. The fries however, could. =)
800 E 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
EDIT: the rest of my flickr set is HERE