Wurstküche, Los Angeles (GUEST POST)

10 Jul

Nicole (@naspiteri) LOVES food and wanted to share her recent food adventures in LA with us and our fair readers:

This past month, I travelled to both San Diego and Los Angeles to visit a friend I had made while living in France, and of course, to further expand my gastronomic horizons. Throughout the never-ending authentic Mexican and divey (yet delicious) burger joints, I discovered Wurstküche via the recommendation of a friend. Self-proclaimed as LA’s “purveyor of exotic grilled sausages”, Wurstküche manages to not only serve up some of the best hot dogs I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, but transform a late night drunken snack into an epicurean experience. After travelling to Austria as well as various Eastern-European countries, I had the chance to try many different kinds of sausages straight small town butchers who pride themselves on handmade quality meats. My Serbian heritage has helped in cultivating my somewhat sophisticated palate  when it comes to grilled meats, sausages in particular.

Wurstküche is located in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles, in converted warehouse, complete with a spacious patio. I could tell right away that I was in for something excellent judging by young, hipster-like bunches of people mixed with business casual dressed and hungry yet patient patrons wrapped around the side of the building. Judging by the area and the diversity of the people in line, you could tell that this place definitely didn’t cater to just one specific crowd.

Upon entering, I was greeted by a server who presents you with a menu and takes your drink order from a wide selection of both imported and local beers. This is done while still waiting in line, efficiency at its best. The menu features sausages in a wide range of meat combinations. You have your typical Bratwurst, Veal, Hot Italian etc. along with both gourmet and unusual combinations such as Duck and Bacon with Jalapeno, Hickory Smoked Pork and Crocodile, and Rattlesnake and Rabbit. Basically a carnivore’s dream. The vegetarian options are equally creative with choices such as Smoked Apple and Sage, all served on a typical white hot dog bun. I assume the lack of variety in bread choices was to add simplicity to the already difficult sausage decision. Toppings include sauerkraut and sweet peppers along with a selection of mustards, and staff are more than willing to guide you to a perfect garnish and sausage pairing decision. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the lack of bread choices, and felt options for whole wheat, onion bread, or even sourdough would have added more of a customization aspect to the meal. However, the fries section of the menu definitely made up for it. Belgian thick cut fries are served with mouth watering dipping sauces like sundried tomato mayo and blue cheese with walnut and bacon. I chose the latter along with a curry ketchup.

Once you order at the counter, customers head to an open concept bar-like area with long communal table style seating (think Salad King on Yonge). The communal seating adds a social element similar to a summer camp mess hall, while the bar and DJ emulate the feel of a club.  The room houses a bar and a DJ, and nearly floor-to-ceiling sized windows that open onto the patio that faces the street. Seeing customers outside enjoying their meals was another factor besides the crowd that sparked my excitement for this place. A strange combination when described in writing, but the exposed beam and vintage style chairs and benches created a comfortable atmosphere that made you want to stay for another drink after consuming your meal. I chose the Hickory Smoked Pork and Crocodile with sauerkraut and Dijon– it really sounds a lot more daring than it tasted. The heavy flavours of pork and crocodile mixed perfectly with the grainy mustard and tangy sauerkraut and well, everything tastes better smoked. I would never have thought to mix curry with ketchup but the sweetness of the tomato somehow balanced rich spices without being overwhelming. I also tried the Keilbasa sausage, my friend’s safe choice- because you can’t go wrong with pork, beef and onions. This sausage was much more was a lot much more mild compared to the crocodile but flavourful nonetheless.

The presentation of the food is simple, and all garnishes are chosen to complement and not overpower the taste of the meat. Although I did not have a chance to try any of the vegetarian options, the two meat based sausages I did try were absolutely delicious — fans of both comfort and fast food should definitely try this place!

Wurstküche definitely exceeded the gourmet comfort food standards that I am used to in Toronto. The unique atmosphere combined with of course, the amazing food left me beyond satisfied and wanting to visit again. Rattlesnake and Rabbit, you’re next if I ever make it back to LA.

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