Before each home game this season, ClipperBlog will run “ClipperBlog Eats,” a restaurant recommendation from its resident restaurant reviewer, Ben Mesirow. Below is today’s suggestion:
There was a moment a couple of years back when it felt like every empty storefront in LA was in some stage of transformation into a German-style sausage and beer hall. They sprung up in Alhambra and Atwater and Sherman Oaks and Old Town Pasadena (twice!), some modern and chic, some with lofty gastronomic aspirations, some with exotic meats and some without, but they all had one thing in common – they were after the magic captured by the original Wurstkuche in the Arts District.
When it opened on a weird triangular corner in what was then an off the radar but rapidly changing neighborhood (the transformation is pretty much complete by now), Wurstkuche was something of an oddity – an industrial brick and metal take on a rustic German beer hall, with some exotic sausages like Rattlesnake & Rabbit and Duck & Bacon, an upgraded beer list, and a DJ booth in the dining room.
Though it may sound gimmicky on paper, an actual trip to Wurstkuche eliminates any of those concerns. The sausages are excellent, juicy and punchy and aggressively flavorful with the perfect snap of casing. The fries, too, are lovely, cooked twice Belgian-style, solid on the outside but molten mush on the inside. And as absurd as the DJ booth seems, it turns the experience of eating there into an event, a rowdy sausage party at long communal tables such that it’s almost impossible to avoid making friends. You start out passing the mustard or comparing condiments and by the end of the meal you’re sharing a fine Trappist beer and swapping sauerkraut with total strangers.
Sure, at this moment you can call the sausage and beer thing played out, passé, whatever, but one meal at Wurstkuche will remind you of why it got all that play in the first place – it’s damn tasty fun. 800 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013; www.wurstkuche.com