Would you try a sausage restaurant recommended to you by a vegetarian? I had my doubts until I tried Wurstküche, a cool little sausage place in the artist district of downtown LA, near Little Tokyo.
Wurstküche has sausage, fries, and beer. There is frequently a long line, but the line moves quickly. There appears to be no seating, but a long narrow hallway leads to a huge open room with tables. Lunchtime and after work draws varied crowds – business people mixed with heavily tattooed local artist-types. All of which to say, you feel pretty cool for having discovered such a hip place to eat.
The sausages fall into three categories – classic, gourmet, and exotic. Classic includes wurst made with pork or veal, Italian sausage, and three kinds of vegetarian sausage. (You know the expression about not wanting to know what goes into the making of sausage and legislation? Well, I really don’t want to know what goes into vegetarian sausage!) Gourmet includes flavors such as ginger apricot, mango jalapeno, a Texas-style spicy sausage, Louisiana hot link, a Filipino sausage, and many others. Exotics include buffalo, duck & bacon, rabbit, alligator, and rattlesnake. The sausages are grilled and are juicy. They’re served on good rolls, with your choice of two toppings that include sweet peppers, hot peppers, sauerkraut, and caramelized onions. There are five kinds of mustard on the table (plus ketchup for the fries). The mustard and toppings are great, but I recommend taking at least one bite of sausage plain, to get the flavor of the sausage.
The fries are my favorite part of the meal. They are thick-cut Belgian fries, and are very brown and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. They are sprinkled with coarse salt and served in a paper cone with your choice of dipping sauce. A large order comes with two dipping sauces. Dipping sauces include chipotle ketchup, curry ketchup, blue cheese with walnuts and bacon, pesto mayo, Thai peanut sauce, tzatziki, and many others.
They have a wide variety of beers on tap, including a large selection of Belgian beers. I’m sure they serve a standard pour (whatever that is) but the one time I went for an after-work drink, the glass seemed enormous and I could only drink half. Or at least I could only drink half without a designated driver. They also have a variety of bottled Belgian and German beers, and wine available at the bar in the room with the tables. They also have a variety of unusual sodas, but don’t expect to order a diet Coke with your sausage – they don’t have it.
Wurstküche is one of those finds that make me love LA. Luckily for me, it’s not far from my office and is a perfect place for a relatively quick but satisfying lunch.