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Wurstkuche – what am I missing?

  • j

Yesterday’s visit to Fab’s dogs (see other review) reminded me of a recent trip to Wurstkuche. Although I didn’t dislike the place I failed to see why it is such a huge attraction. We popped in on a midday weekend afternoon, I had timed it to specifically avoid the long lines. There were a half dozen people in in line inside and a few more milling around waiting for their orders. Right there I was somewhat annoyed at how unorganized it seemed. There was no menu, no signs or obvious indications of what exactly you were supposed to do. I finally figured out there was a stack of the disposable paper menus up by the counter and had to excuse myself to cutting through some people and grab a menu. To the staff’s credit, while I was waiting in line, I explained to one of them it was my first time here and could they explain the set up to me, they were very friendly in explaining.

We ordered the Filipino Maharlika and Louisiana Hotlink. Side of Belgian fries and a dipping sauce of the Thai Peanut butter. A couple of Fentiman’s soda’s and we were good to go. Grabbed our seats and not too soon after the food was delivered. We were pretty disappointed overall. Both our sausages were overcooked and dry. The flavors weren’t particularly distinctive for either sausage. Our Belgian fries were a mixed of overcooked and under cooked fries. We had several burnt darkish brown pieces and light pieces. Ordinary taste and texture was mealy on the undercooked ones. The dipping sauce was kind of boring. Kind of watered down peanut butter without any other spice notes in it. On our New York visits, we love Pomme Frite and was hoping to find an approximation of it locally both fries and dipping sauces.

We left disappointed especially at those prices. I’m going to give this place another shot sometime since we do like the variety of offering but definitely not in a hurry. Hoping that we jsut had a really bad visit. Can anyone shed some light on what exactly did I miss here?

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Wurstkuche
800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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  1. I don't think you missed much being a CH.

    I think one thing CH's may tend to forget is not everyone cares about food as much as a chowhounder.

    For a lot of folks the food is perfectly fine or they don't care enough about food to notice that everything on the menu is not being perfectly executed.

    A lot of people simply come there to socialize have a snack, drink a beer and go on with their lives.

    1. If you didn't like Wrustkuche, then you're obviously not hip enough.

      It's like if you're not whipping out your camera phone at every course that's plated during a 9-course tasting at Scarpetta, then obviously you're not part of the "it" crowd.

      Kidding aside, I've always felt that the appeal of Wrustkuche was less about quality and taste of the food, than it was about the novelty of chowing down on exotic sausages. There's nothing wrong with that, but if I want a good dog, at a good price, I'd rather go to Costco or make the trek to Harlem Alley in the Bank District and patronize the cart operated by Tony Pardines. http://www.arts-n-eats.com/

      But that's just me. And, yeah, I was the geekie kid in high school that went to the prom with my cousin ...

      10 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I'm definitely not hip enough. Even if I had a closet full of ironic t-shirts and tiny pork pie hats, I don't think I could pass for hip during Halloween. I do like taking pictures of my food though to help out with my fading memory.

        I kind of got that part of the appeal would be the scene and location. And part of that would be to pay more than the going rate. Fine, all that was included in the expectation level. But I didn't think it was expecting too much that during a non busy time, I'd get a decently cooked sausage and fries. That's where my expectation level was set, competently prepared, not even perfect, just competent.

        1. re: Jase

          I think the beers are great, the fries are very good, the dips are good, and the vegetarian sausages are pretty good.

          1. re: sushigirlie

            That's what I had heard. That's why I was disappointed at our badly cooked fries and unremarkable dipping sauce.

            I've never had and never will plan to have a vegetarian sausage so can't speak to that aspect.

            1. re: Jase

              i go for the beers and eat a sausage as a snack (almost like peanuts at a bar)

        2. re: ipsedixit

          Ha.....I went to a prom with my cousin (2nd cousin if there's such a thing, she was the geek, & 5'11" tall)....we had a great time and end of the night wished she wasn't my cousin.

          Sounds like the OP's visit was a fluke. I've been to Wurstkuche at least a dozen tmes and never had a dry sausage or Belgian fries that weren't cooked perfectly. A previous CH thread says Brat Brother's in Sherman Oaks makes the sausages for Wurstkuche.

          BTW: I'm far from being a hipster type.

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          Wurstkuche
          800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

          1. re: monku

            "A previous CH thread says Brat Brother's in Sherman Oaks makes the sausages for Wurstkuche. "

            more info? need proof.

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            Wurstkuche
            800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

              1. re: monku

                I have been to Brat Brothers and can confirm they make the sausages but they do not have the Frites.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            At least you got to go to prom, ipse. I missed prom altogether 'cuz I was studying for my myriad of AP exams.

            I like Wurstkuche for 3 reasons:
            (1) I can buy the uncooked rattlesnake sausage (their best exotic sausage, IMHO), take it home, and put it on the grill at home myself.
            (2) Their traditional kielbasa and is really good (their bratwurst is just OK)
            (3) I miss German beerhall-style seating and conviviality in L.A., and Wurstkuche somewhat faithfully reproduces it.

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            Wurstkuche
            800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

          3. If you ever do end up going back, just try the plain bratwurst. I find it very good.

            1. I like Wurstkuche. I think the sausages are pretty good and so is the beer selection. Their fries were excellent the few times I've been there. The dipping sauces were hit or miss for me. It's not a place I'll fight traffic for like Langer's, but if you're in the area, and want a beer and some food, it's a good spot.

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              Wurstkuche
              800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

              1. I've always maintained that Wurstkuche has such a huge menu of not-great sausages to justify it's sausage-only menu. Some of the sausages are good (Italian comes to mind) but only the brat is great. If the sausage has multiple small or reptilian animals in it, it probably isn't going to be very good.

                The fries are stellar. I've been their loads of times and never had a bad batch but it sounds like that's what happened in your case. Same goes for the sausage cooking - never had a problem. It's worth another shot. Plus - Thai peanut sauce? Go with the curry ketchup or aioli.

                I don't know if you don't drink or don't like beer but that is essential to the experience. I'm not sure I'd really like the food without it. Wurstkuche is the textbook definition of beer food.

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                Wurstkuche
                800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013