You've Heard It, but Yes I Love Wurstkuche!
When Wurstküche opened in the downtown arts district, it created quite a buzz. Not only do they offer gourmet and exotic sausages, they also boast 20+ beers on tap (mostly German and Belgian)! So when I had to pick a place to hang out with my friends, I thought this is the perfect chance to try it.
It was 8PM Saturday night and we were greeted with a line out the door. It looked like a small regular hot dog stand in the front, well-lit and cramped. We placed our order and headed to the back room and -voila!- a PUB! Complete with the loud talking, music, and beers on tap lining the wall. Waiting for a table on a Saturday night can take a while, but lucky me I was late and a couple of my friends have grabbed a table :P
After a while, our food came. We had ordered the Sun Dried Tomato & Mozzarella (smoked chicken and turkey):
Topped it sweet peppers and sauerkraut - I've never had peppers on my sausages/hot dogs before and apparently I've been missing out. Delicious! Loved the extra flavor that the sundried tomatoes added - this is in the running for my favorite of the night.
We also got the Apricot (also chicken), which are smaller sausages but each order had two pieces.
These were also very good, the apricots gave it a slight crunchy texture and a tangy flavor.
We also got the Rabbit, Veal & Pork sausage. All of the ones we got tonight were all pretty light. This was quite tender and the meat had a very nice flavor. These sausages were moist, the juices were nicely sealed inside.
Overall, great food, and just perfect with beer. May be a bit pricey for "hot dogs". It's kind of loud, or you could say "lively pub atmosphere" plus they have a great beer selection.
I was later told that the Rattlesnake and Duck were actually the best ones. I didn't get them this time since they had Jalapenos and was afraid it would be spicy. But I will definitely come back and try them next time around! (Hey, if it is spicy I can just chase it down with a beer, right?)
I dunno about this place. I was thoroughly underwhelmed during my one visit there, and I thought the entire menu was overpriced.
The dogs were nothing special (Filipino and the Rattlesnake/Rabbit); they were generally quite mild, and the mustard sauces on the side did little to perk them up. And I don't really think the rolls complement the sausages -- they're almost too bready, or yeasty.
I must admit the Belgian fries were quite good, esp. paired with the Blu Cheese Walnut and Bacon dipping sauce.
In many ways, I feel like I'm paying a premium on the sausages in order to subsidize the beer menu.
Well, besides Wurstkuche, sausages at brunch places like Bread & Porridge, or sausages I get from markets/grocery stores like Claro's, WholeFoods, or TJ's I don't really go out to eat "dogs" - Pink's included (haven't gone in 3+ years).
Is there another place I should check out, then?
I agree with ipse that this place was kind of a letdown. I had the bacon duck sausage which sounds fantastic, but was fairly dry and didn't really taste much of bacon or duck. The fries were, indeed, delicious, though.
When the Golden State officially opens next week, they'll be serving Let's be Frank dogs...
Compared to Pink's? I wouldn't say Pink's is known for their sausages. I'm a native and I don't know too many people who grew up here that actually like Pink's.
I tried it today after having a sample at the LA Weekly Jonathan Gold event a couple of weeks ago. The Duck w/ Bacon sausage was amazing. Eating there was a bit of a drag because it was crowded and cold outside. But the food was fantastic. I also really liked the Fries (Frites?). The curry ketchup was interesting. Somebody call Heinz. It wasn't cheap, but it was really good. Worth driving downtown.
for two sausages, large fries and two drinks, our bill came out to about $30 and at the time, it seemed like that was steep, considering the fact that nothing was over the top special, but it was the combination of everything that made it work so well.
the amount of beer on tap, the special sausages, the well made fries and sauces and the WHOLE GRAIN MUSTARD.
overall, i'm glad this is around, especially since it's within walking distance of the smell.
those bacon wrapped dogs they sell in the alley don't do it anymore.
* Crispy Belgian fries were well salted!
* Bleu Cheese Walnut and Bacon dipping sauce reminded us of a Cobb salad without the salad, only more baconey. Damn.
* Pesto dip.
* Interior space: exposed wood, picnic benches, stylish dividers, inviting bar space
* Large beer selection, plus some good ciders
* Availability of vegetarian brats
* Plenty of circulating mustard squeeze bottles. Our table had four: whole grain, plain yellow, honey, and spicy brown.
* Laid back, well mannered downtown crowd
* Every Belgian style fries place I've ever visited was really tight with the dipping sauce: would it wreck their margins to give out four or five little containers instead of one or two? Wurstkuche is no exception.
* Prices. I paid $5.25 for a .40 liter glass of Bitburger Pils. The total bill for two brats, two drinks and a large fries came to thirty bucks.
Still, I like the food, proximity to Little Tokyo and the crowd enough to go back. But next time maybe i'll try the Pabst Blue Ribbon: $2.50.
Since you don't even mention the brat's (other than the availability of vegetarian brats) on either the pro or con side I am assuming that they were graded as "neutral" or "none of the above" or "other" (or perhaps you didn't eat any brats while you were there)? Grade me as "confused"...
I can understand your concern budget wise these days but trading Bitburger for PBR is certainly not an going to be a equal one. Your going to save 20% roughly on your bill but sacrifice at least 50% of your dining experience. I think the uniqueness of that place is to try and get a nice beer and brat pairing.
To keep it fair they should offer 99 cent style am/pm hot dogs (which would be the brat equivalent to PBR) in case anyone wants to pair that up with a St. Bernardus 12. (smile)
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