Sunday, March 01, 2009

Wurstkuche, Los Angeles - A Sausage Grill


One of my must-do things up in San Francisco involves two neighboring businesses right on Haight Street in the Lower Haight area. It's an area lined with vintage shops, specialty stores bars and tatted up denizens – quite similar to Melrose Avenue. There's Rosamunde Sausage Grill and Toronado. One obviously deals out sausages, and the other is a wonderful watering hole. The owners know each other and have a symbiotic relationship. You order one of the lovely sausages offered by Rosamunde and have to wait at least 10-15 minutes. How do you kill time? Go get a beer. You order one too many beers at Toronado, your stomach tells you it needs a sponge to sop up all that delicious beer. What do you do before you throw up? Go get a sausage. This sort of transaction happens all day long... drunk people and hungry people walking back and forth. For a while I was like, "Why don't we ever have both in one building down here in Los Angeles???"

That's when Joseph Pitruzzelli of San Francisco stepped in and blessed us with Wurstküche, which is German for "sausage kitchen". A 27-year old designer and entrepreneur who enjoys beer and sausages at the same time and read LA's mind. Located in Downtown Los Angeles's arts district, just east of Little Tokyo, you won't miss this joint with its yellow and red, striped door and sign written in tasteful typography. Did I mention to you that he's a designer?

Wurstkuche Los Angeles

Upon walking in, you immediately see the sausage display case and taps bolted into the wall. The room ends in a sharp corner with counter tops and a few tables and chairs. Walking down the hallway, you'll end up in a larger dining area, where you could also order beer from. The place has a modern design and really gets you out of the Red Lion Tavern (another German bar with sausages) setting, which sometimes can feel a little depressing and low-energy if you're not in the happiest of moods. Warning: here's a shocking example of what kind of sausages Red Lion Tavern does offer. I do not dare click on my own link.

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Sausages

The True Edible Adult Candy Store
Pitruzzelli offers over 21 types of sausages that he's acquired from purveyors all over the U.S. All the sausages are neatly stacked on top of each other, a few them with signage. Just ask the person what they have to offer. Here's what's listed on the menu:

Bratwurst - fine cuts of pork with coriander & nutmeg
Bockwurst - veal & pork with spices
Hot Italian -fine cuts of pork with spices
Vegetarian Italian - soy based, traditional flavor
Vegetarian Beer Bratwurst - soy based, traditional flavor
Vegetarian Kielbasa- soy based, traditional flavor
Mango Jalapeño - chicken & turkey
Jack Cheese & Jalapeño Peppers - smoked turkey
Chicken Apple & Spices
Austin Blues - hardwood smoked pork, hot and spicy, tri-pepper
Sun Dried Tomato & Mozzarella - smoked chicken & turkey
Green Chillies & Cilantro - chicken & turkey
Filipino Marharlika - sweet pork with natural seasonings
Kielbasa - polish style, pork & beef wtih onions and spices
Louisiana Hot Link - beef & pork with onions and hot spices
Roasted Red Pepper & Corn - chicken & turkey
Buffalo, Beef & Pork with Chipotle Peppers - smoky chipotle flavor
Duck & Bacon with Jalapeño Peppers - juicy and packed with flavor
Rabbit, Veal & Pork Seasoned with White Wine - light and delicate
Alligator & Pork, Smoked Andouille Sausage - hickory smoked, thick casing
Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeño Peppers - buttery but mildly spicy

I've tried the duck & bacon, rabbit & veal, rattlesnake, chicken & apple and sun-dried tomato/mozzarella chicken sausages. And I am always stuck on what to get every time I'm here, as I have not eaten anything disappointing.

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Sausages

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Sausages

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Sausages

The Sausage Beach
It takes about 10 minutes to get your sausage. Make sure you choose from the 35+ types of beer offered at Wurstküche – Belgian, German and American. As well as an assortment of specialty sodas.

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Sauces

Sauce City
For those that enjoy mustard to go on top of their sauteed onions, sauerkraut or sweet peppers.

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Beer Taps

Belgian, German and American Beers
If Pitruzzelli isn't looking, I may do a taste test of all these beers with my mouth as a serving glass.

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Belgian Fries

Belgian-Style Fries
Wurstküche offers some tasty fries that are prepared the night before and blanched the next morning. Before serving them, they are fried once more to achieve one extra layer of deliciousness. You can order a large cone of fries for $5.50 with your choice of two sauces, and a smaller cone of fries for $3.50 with your choice of one sauce. These are some of my favorite fries in Los Angeles, along with Oinkster, Hungry Cat and Father's Office.

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Belgian Fries

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Sundried Tomato & Mozzarella Sausage

Sundried-Tomato & Mozzarella Chicken Sausage
Good. I don't have anything else to say but that's it's good and juicy. The bread is made in-store and really tastes great together.

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Rattlesnake Sausage

Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeno Peppers
Good good good! I recommend the rattlesnake here as it is not as rich as other places I've had it at, like Hot Doug's in Chicago. But Chicago-style hot dogs are in a league of their own – so good!

Wurstkuche Los Angeles Joseph Pitruzzelli

I don't have anything else more to say than what Jonathan Gold or other blogs haven't already said. Only that I enjoy everything I've tried here and have been here at least 7-8 times. Based on the 20-25 minute wait for my meal everytime, I think Pitruzzelli and Wurstküche are here to stay in Los Angeles. Good sausages, good beer, good location = good times.

Note: Wurstküche will be at Jonathan Gold's Gold Standard/LA Weekly food extravaganza. Thanks for reading.

800 E. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-4444


MyLastBite said...

I love Wurstkuche and your photos are simply FANTASTIC!

Pepsi Monster said...

Damn, everyone this past week is doing a blog post about Worst Coochie (J/K! Verst Kooka). I was thinking about it, but I'll hold off on that a bit.

Are you going to the Gold Standard?

jepot said...

"Ditto" on Pepsi's comment! Love, love, love the place. I had the Rattlesnake with a glass of Duchesse de Bourgogne, delish! Great post. Now I know what the hell "Wurstkuche" means :)

eatdrinknbmerry said...

MyLastBite, thank you.

PepsiMan, seriously. It's like the The Bazaar blog rampage on a much cheaper scale. We're thinking about Gold Standard, you?

Jepot, that is a great combo. I have had both on separate occasions.

One Food Guy said...

Fantastic. I've had to run a few more miles recently after filling myself full of amazing sausages while in Switzerland last month.

And I'm headed to Chicago in a couple weeks - what do you recommend at Hot Doug's?

Julie said...

Mmm... B and I came here once AFTER eating dinner because we were worried they wouldn't have anything vegetarian. Doh! Of course they do and the word is that those are pretty darn tasty too. Awesome reporting/photos. Now I want to try everything.

H. C. said...

Wurstkuche is a wonderful downtown eatery addition (particularly the Arts District, which isn't known for much asides from a Groundworks shop and maybe Church & State a few blocks down.) Was there this past Sunday and I thoroughly enjoyed my mango-chicken sausage sandwich with a light, refreshing German beer.

It'd be totally wicked if they offered a beer sampler -- so many to try!

Passionate Eater said...

Rosamunde is a wurst place up here in SF that I need to try out! Ever since I went to Switzerland, I have been on the hunt for the best wurst. You always make want to move back to LA (is there room in the EDNBM/Oishii Eats household for another roommate)? And I love your sausage porno references! (Tee hee.)

Anonymous said...

the fries are indeed amazing and especially with the bleu cheese,bacon and walnut dipping sauce. WOW.

u and jeni should go to gold standard! matthew and i will be there. i'm so curious what each resto will have. i may go buckwild :)

eatdrinknbmerry said...

OFG, did you post on the Swiss sausages yet? Hot Doug's is like a Pink's hot dog... tons of people waiting outside - locals & tourists. If you go on a weekend, they serve fries fried in DUCK FAT. they are definitely rich. i had a chicago dog and rattlesnake dog there. for non hot-dogs, I recommend Avec, food well done.

Why would you go to a sausage place AFTER you're full haha? I'd probably throw up just so I could eat the sausages. Sorry so graphic.

I agree, this is a nice addition to the arts district, which at one point, probably had more tumbleweeds than tumbleweeds. Now it's nice to see that they have a few restaurants and now a sausage/beer joint. I've asked if they would do mini sausage tastings with beer pairings.

Peater, hey you're the 2nd commenter to talk about Swiss dogs. you should just move back to LA or SF. You like sausage porn? Bad JT, Bad Bad.

Choisauce, I don't touch that dipping sauce. It's like fat frosting – looks delicious but it's too rich for me haha. I'm curious as to how many sausages Pitruzzelli will 'pull out'.

One Food Guy said...

Hey D- negative on posting the swiss sausages yet - I am still in December as far as the blog is concerned, ugh!

Thanks for the Chicago tips. At the rate I'm going, I'll eat there in two weeks and write about it in three months! Yikes! Fries in duck fat! Rattlesnake dog! Wow. Gotta get me some of that.

benjie said...

I've personally done the wurstkuche vs hot dougs battle, and its pretty close. I couldnt really pick a winner, one one hand duck bacon sausage with a nice maudite to wash it down, on the other $1.50 chicago dog and cheese fries. ill just say i love both.

e d b m said...

OFG, have a great time. Chicago treated my belly really nicely.

Benjie, it's possible to have lovers from different area codes/states.

TripleDub said...

Wurstkuche is pretty good! I tried the rattlesnake sausage and it didn't disappoint me~ the pesto mayo sauce that comes with the fries is just out of this world! They are making classic food fun~ Love your pictures ^^

Nanciful said...

Wow, thanks for posting this! Now I don't have to wait until my once a year trip to Germany for some good bratwurst!

shoe fiend said...

love this post! i still need to make 10 trips back here to try everything else. the only thing i didn't really like THAT much was the mango jalapeno something sausage

take_the_responsibility said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aji De Mani said...

when i walked into wurstkuche, the first thing i thought was rosamunde!!! you're totally right. if rosamunde and toronado finally had a baby after working all their lives to make sure the baby goes to college without financial aid, it would have given birth to wurstkuche.

Hungry Grace said...

Have you tried the curry ketchup from the Golden State (on Fairfax) yet?! Easily my new favorite condiment. Say hi to the owners Jason and Jim for me...they're super nice and accommodating.

Mac said...

good find dylan. This place was pretty dope. Who would have guessed you'd find it in J-town?

Love the beer selection.

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