Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wurstkuche--Purveyor of Exotic Grilled Sausages


800 E. 3rd St. at the corner of Traction Ave.

Los Angeles, CA


Sausage Kitchen? Yes, please.

The past few months of my life I have been exposed to the glories that downtown L.A. has to offer, and Wurstkuche does not disappoint. It's a gastropub smack in the Arts District, near the American Apparel factory and various hip cuisine joints, like the fusion Sushi place across the street. They specialize in a gloriously varied list of classic and gourmet sausages and German and Belgian imported beers.

I had no idea what was going on. I walked in and ordered a Rasputin Stout as I waited for the mini birthday party to arrive. I noticed the mustards on the table but didn't KNOW what people were eating, and here comes my friend V, and to our table comes a bratwurst covered in sauerkraut, with a side of belgian fries and chipotle ketchup. Damn! I wish I wasn't full.

Then the rest of gang arrived, touting a red velvet cake for H's birthday. We traded sips of our respective beers, one of them being a Koestritzer Schwarzbier, a sweet and malty dark German beer that R was drinking. Something tells me I should have at least gotten a Chimay when I walked in, but then again, I didn't know.

Then the sausages arrive! J got a bratwurst with caramelized onions, H got the bockwurst, and R sampled the gourmet dogs, getting a Duck and Bacon sausage, and the Mango-Jalapeno. These, in my face with a side of fries, and numerous moans of pleasure from my friends. I eventually broke down and decided I shouldn't wait until next time to try this sausage.

The main entrance with the sign is on Traction Ave. Entering from here you see the display of raw meat in the case, including the Rabbit and Rattlesnake, and the Alligator and Pork, and can stare perplexed at the solitary white sausage, the Rabbit-Veal-Pork seasoned with white wine. It's a small operation, one grill, and two little fryers. There's a lovely display of all the non-alcoholic options, i.e. the quirky lines of sodas, including ginger beer, sasparilla, and a Republic of Teas Darjeeling. (I have never seen this stuff bottled before!)

Reisdorff Kolsch: a light, crisp German beer. When a bartender says it's their favorite I'll go with it. I ordered the Hot Italian, pork sausage with spices. My go to dog.

When it finally came, it was generously covered in peppery caramelized onions, and came on an excellent 'italian' hot dog roll. Bread with character for a sausage full of flavor. I don't think I've ever had a better sausage. Homemade and carefully cooked, these people know what they're doing. I said it best with "there's a big difference between this and store bought."It was served in a metal container designed specifically to house my sausage. Here and there I put some of the Dijon mustard, but it was pretty much fantastic unadulterated.

Earlier there was a chorus of curse words going around the table exclaiming the deliciousness of the eats, and I joined in.

It was great ambiance. In the middle of the dining room there are long tables, much like military mess hall tables, or what I imagine to be the layout of a Belgian Brat&Beer house. We sat at a booth on the wall, and the tables were in the shape of coffins. There was cucumber water available. I was surprised that this place existed. It seems like you could be most anyone and enjoy yourself without too much pretense. I hear the line goes out the door on the weekends, so that I may avoid.

I will definitely return this summer for a longer night to sample the beer selection and talk about life over good food.


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