My happiest place on Earth’s original Venice Branch.
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.
What? Where you looking for? The wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen and a bunch of St. Pauli Girls?
Now, as for the in-restaurant experience. It’s pretty simple. 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 (and I mean 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 Bauhaus Inspired 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 is a nice outdoor patio at the Little Tokyo location, but that may be a bit much to ask in Venice, where just outside that door is a mess of traffic on Lincoln Blvd. Better to stay inside and have your beer. (BEER I SAY!)
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, since this is a Sausage House, and that’s pretty much all they serve. That and Belgian fries.
My first visit to a Wurstküche involved an old School 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.
Subsequent visits have made me fall in love with their perfectly prepared, perfectly lovely and just about perfect in every single way… Wurstküche’s Bratwurst. Man on man…
I did say perfect, right? Just checkin’.
On the side, I rolled with a single order (the Eine) of Belgian Fries with a Sun dried 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. Subsequent visits have tamed me considerably. If you get a Sausage, some Fries, a Beer and maybe dessert, you’ll leave satisfied.
There are vegetarian options…three of ‘em…in the Classic Sausage menu.
…and be sure make use of the Tip Jar by the Register!
PARKING: This is the one part that sucks, especially in comparison to Little Tokyo. While the overall restaurant layout may be the same (sans outdoor seating), the parking for the Venice branch of Wurstküche is a bitch and a half. Forget parking along Venice. That ain’t happening…ever…probably. You need to duck down the side streets where you are dependent on the largess of the Residents of that street not needing to park there at any given time. I got lucky…lucky as hell and parked half a block from the restaurant. Of course, I came well after the Lunch rush. God only knows what Parking is like then.
625 Lincoln Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (213) 687-4444
Daily: 11:00 am – 2:00 am