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For me, the happiest place on earth…in the Little Tokyo Arts District.
This is what I love about this sorta-kinda-job of mine. Going to places I haven’t been before, that are in places that I thought I knew pretty well. Thus, we come to Wurstküche.
Yeah, I know. I’m flailing with the pronunciation too.
Wurstküche is an old fashioned German Brats and Beer Hall with a modern twist.
The modern twist being…that it’s all sleek and modern.
See? Sleek and modern.
What? Where you looking for? The wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen and a bunch of St. Pauli Girls?
Oh, know I’m late to this dance party, but I’m in paradise. This is my new Happy place. This may be my new Birthday meal (standing alongside Philipe’s and Mambo’s).
You walk in, wait in a short line (slightly longer if it’s lunch), and look over the menu.
As your waiting there, one of the lovely waitstaff offers you Beer, BEER I say.
No, it’s not free, but does that matter? You’re having a freakin’ beer as you’re waiting in line. In my case a good German Weihenstephan, dark and sweet.
You order your food, and then go into the…well, very functional, and thus…in it’s own way…very Hans Ritcher (he’s an Artist — look him up) German Dining Hall. Don’t worry, there’s a Bar in there too. There you wait, sipping on your brew and waiting for your Sausages to arrive. It doesn’t take long after that. The Sausages arrive good and hot. From there you can pour on any varietal of mustard you see fit (there are plenty) scattered around the communal and non-communal tables. Afterwards, you can turn to the bar for your continued Beer drinking and Ice Cream Sandwich needs.
Yes, there are Ice Cream sandwiches.
There’s a small outdoor patio, about three tables. Still, with summer coming on (as I write this) it’s better to be inside, with all those magical sausages, just waiting on someone to chomp down on them.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, since this is a Sausage House, and that’s pretty much all they serve. That an Belgian fries.
I myself went old School with a Bockwurst, which is just Veal, Pork and spices. Someone in line with me vehemently, vehemently demanded I get the Rattlesnake and Rabbit Sausage. I didn’t know how to tell him that this was my first visit, and that that may have been a bit much for anyone’s first visit.
Seriously, why do people get insistent that you have what they have?
After that, I needed to keep it simple. I wanted to see if Wurstküche could handle the basics, which for me, includes a Louisiana Hot Link.
They can. It was a good and spicy. It packed a decent punch without burning out the inside of your mouth. It’s going to be hard to resist getting it again on visits: two, three, four and beyond.
On the side, I rolled with a single order (the Eine) of Belgian Fries with a Sundried Tomato Mayo dipping sauce. Wonderful complement. Of course, one Weihenstephan was enough for my whole meal.
After that, I sauntered up to the bar (I did mention the bar in the Main Dining Hall, right?) and ordered me, not another beer, but a Toasted Apple Pie Ice Cream Sandwich. Ohhhh, sweet Lord yes. They apparently cooked up some kind of pie crust, cut ‘em into cookie and slapped some good ice cream in the middle. You will leave happy.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: I think the first question you’re going to face is what kind of beer you might like. There are going to be a lot of brands on the menu that frankly you may not recognize. Try something that isn’t Budweiser or Sam Adams, and go forth unafraid. The Ladies who are attending your Beer needs in line know their stuff. Go ahead and ask ‘em for a recommendation. They’ll match you nicely with something that’ll taste great…for you. It’s how I wound up with my Weihenstephan.
Oh, and this is one of those places that serves each of their beers in their own particular and unique glasses.
BTW, Steins are available for double the price of the normal size. But be warned, that’s a lot of beer.
Next question is how many you should get. I was able to swing two Sausages, and a single order of Belgian Fries, and still had room for a Toasted Apple Pie Ice Cream Sandwich.
There are vegetarian options…three of ‘em…in the Classic Sausage menu.
The Restaurant is approximately four blocks from the Japanese American National Museum.
Some of the neighbors around Wurstküche apparently aren’t thrilled they’re in the neighborhood. They’ve set up a Website, and it’s…uhh, well…something.
I have no idea what’s going down with all the strum and drang depicted on the website, all I can ask any reader of this site is…just make sure you’re a good neighbor when you visit the neighborhood. People do live and work here. Don’t make whatever’s going on between Wurstküche and the neighborhood worse by anything you do. Let them hash it out. You just enjoy your meal…
…and be sure make use of the Tip Jar by the Register!
PARKING: There is a lot of metered Street Parking around the Restaurant. I went on a Saturday afternoon at peak Lunch Rush, and still found a spot a half a block away. If you’re willing to hoof it, you’ll get yourself a space, particurally along Hewitt. The meters are set for $4 bucks, but that’s for four hours. That’s good if you want to hit the Japanese American National Museum and get a bite to eat. But if you just want to eat, dial it back to and hour and a half.
There is a Parking Lot charging $5, about a half block from Wurstküche on Traction, as a backup.
800 E 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013