Saturday, March 26, 2011

Berlin Currywurst

A. really wanted to try Berlin Currywurst. I sort of did, though I had doubts.

We had a day to ourselves and part of me really wanted to go to town. I was thinking Aburiya Toranoko. I have a Blackboard Eats coupon burning a hole in my pocket. But the day after a seven course tasting menu with wine pairings at Drago Centro (more later!) is not really the day to go off.

So we popped over to Silver Lake and waited in line for over thirty minutes at Intelligentsia. Do people do this on a regular basis? The coffee is swell, but waiting in line for that long sent me back to clubbing days that I would just as soon forget.

After the caffeine issue was settled, we waltzed over to Berlin Currywurst. Yes, it's true the interior of the tiny spot is lovely and modern. There is just the right balance of bare white wall, black and white photo-murals, brick, and exposed filament light bulbs. Plus, I like the hip wood and metal furniture too.

A. is, generally speaking, a big fan of sausages and hot dogs and while I enjoy them as well my love is more measured. I worry about stomachaches and often I want some vegetables too! Not just french fries.

The menu is simple. Pick a sausage -- pork, beef and pork, pork with paprika and garlic, or perhaps tofu -- and then a heat level. One through four are on offer. I'd read here and there that even the lower levels are hot, so I didn't go all the way. But understanding that I am a bit of a heat fiend, you'll know I had to start at level three.

There is some kind of choice of additional flavors. I didn't manage to get to the bottom of this. Apparently for eighty-nine cents something in the flavor of your wurst experience will be altered.

I personally did not notice a need for alterations. Really not at all. Or not with the currywurst anyway. I opted for the pure pork bratwurst. A. chose the one with paprika. We were both more than a little enthused.

Honestly, I don't think I really understood currywurst. I know Richard Blais did a variation on it during the most recent Top Chef episode, but I was so pissed that Antonia went home and that Mike Isabella was left standing that I had completely forgotten. I was actually expecting a sausage on a bun, even after I had read all the reviews on Yelp. I guess I wasn't concentrating.

Apparently currywurst is not some sort of hybrid German/Indian food. The owner made this clear. It is German food with the addition of curry that British soldiers brought to Germany. Wikipedia informs that a German housewife may be responsible for its invention. Thank goodness for Herta Heuwer!

The sausage is cooked and cut into thick slices and served in a rather addictive sauce of tomato paste and yellow curry. Vinegar and perhaps worcestershire sauce are probably lurking in there too along with some other mystery ingredients. I've read that the owners won't give away the secret recipe. Too bad! On the side is a terrific soft country-style German bread.

Two bites in and I was telling A. that I would most likely be licking the plate clean.

I was perfectly shocked by how much I was loving that lunch. The wurst itself has a satisfying snap to its skin. There are just the right amount of fatty bits within to keep the meat juicy and delicious.

And the sauce was ridiculous. I was easily imagining the development of mad cravings. It balances sweet, spicy and tangy exceptionally well. The charming owner let me sample the fourth level of heat after I told him that I thought I could hack it. It wasn't too bad, especially if you like a little eyelid sweat.

I wish they served beer! This food is made for it.

The only mild negative is the french fries. The idea of topping them with slightly-cooked onions is very good. I have no idea what the other choice of jambalaya topping is like. Next time! Unfortunately the fries themselves are not quite right. Somehow they are oily on the outside but the oil doesn't penetrate far enough inside and the middle of each fry seems a little dry. Hopefully they can sort this problem out, because that is my only complaint.

The food is cheap. It's a five-spot and change for the sausage and bread and unless you are a really big eater, you don't need anything else. Not even the fries. They're just added decadence. It's a great deal and a super addition to the neighborhood.

Our big star spotting at this tiny Silver Lake eatery was none other than snowboarder extraordinaire, Shaun White! I loved his mirrored glasses and tight black and white striped pants. Funny funny.

As I sat at Berlin Currywurst, I could easily imagine a line around the block in the not too distant future. A. was busy imagining a mightily successful franchise.

It's clear that Berlin Currywurst is going places.

Berlin Currywurst
3827 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026


Monique said...

Can't wait to try it! So let's go soon!!

Helen said...

It does sound intriguing and I'd love to try it but my stomach might curse me if I do. Well if I go with someone else maybe a bite would satisfy me and not upset other parts of me.