Berlin Currywurst: The Silver Lake Brick and Mortar Fulfilling Your German Street Food Fix

Scharfe Kasewurst in Chipotle Sauce, Level 3 ($6.88)

I saw the alternating striped and plaid shirts over skinny jeans and under stocking caps through the glass walls even as I approached Berlin Currywurst in the rain. The interior of the former mom and pop pupusa spot had undergone minimal renovation and now carries a very different vibe, albeit more appropriate and fitting into the context of Sunset Junction. The yellow walls have been whited out and a mosaic of B&W photography is now the centerpiece. Diners eat at distressed wooden tables on school chairs and benches.

Fries and Onions ($3.49)

I’m loving the concept because, ironically, Berlin Currywurst is exactly where I want it and I know that it’s not going to drive away like another Los Angeles food truck, forcing me to check Twitter the next time I have a craving for Germany’s “National Dish” (while subsequently becoming disappointed it’s not in my neighborhood). It does run you double what it would cost you to eat at a stand in Germany, but it’s understandable considering they have rent to pay.

Perhaps it’s evidence that “hipster” has increasingly evolved into a state of mind and less of one’s unemployment or (lack of) finances. This is easy, accessible German street food that crosses all echelons and classifications – yet eaten with tiny wooden spears. You won’t find any silverware at this spot. After all, it’s not meant to be gourmet rocket science. Rather, it’s almost-finger food, customizable both in flavor and in heat, and served up with a side of fries and onions or jambalaya.

Interior

Pick your wurst, ranging from Bratwurst (pork), Bockwurst (veal and pork) and Rindswurst (beef) to Geflugelbratwurst (chicken) and more – with a couple of tofu options to boot. Each serving starts at $5.89 and comes with two slices of negligable “German farmer’s bread.” It’s OK to sop up the remainder of your ketchup-curry powder  sauce, but I’d highly recommend getting a side of fries with onions to share. The potatoes were fried and salted to a perfect crisp and, together with sauteed onions, were as solid as any I’ve had.

As for your currywurst, you pick the level of heat ranging from 1 – 4 (#3 comes with an Age 16+ disclaimer) and you can flavor your sauce with “Prenzlauer” (fruity), “Kreuzberg” (chipotle), “Mitte” (jambalaya) or “Alexanderplatz” (garlic) for an additional $0.89. I went with Level 3 and the chipotle flavoring, which was a nice way to kick it up a notch. I’d predict that the original sauce might be a bit sweet for my tastes. After all, I’ve always preferred mustard to ketchup. And now, I’m curious about Level 4.

The Berlin Currywurst Team

We ordered the Paprikawurst (pork, paprika, garlic) and the Scharfe Kasewurst (beef, jalapeno, cheese) mistakenly in the same sauce, but it became a good canvas to determine that the latter definitely wins out in terms of flavor.

Alas, they don’t have beer, but malt beer and Izze. But I very much enjoyed their Virgil’s Cola – a bottled root beer they carry in their small counter refrigerator. It remains to be seen whether they’re looking to change that. All the same, I’m thinking that it would hurt their turnover within that small space.

Berlin Currywurst employs a simple business model that fits just perfectly into that corner space at The Junction. It’s a great place to get your fix – easy in, easy out, no nonsense. And at the center of it all is a fail-proof recipe for Germany’s favorite food. Now Silver Lake gets a piece.

Tuesday – Sunday

11:30 AM – 10 PM

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

Brooklyn, New York: Prime Meats Is Simply Divine

Sauerbraten on Pretzel ($10)

My familiarity with The Franks, funny enough, began in Los Angeles at a little restaurant called Animal. So upon visiting Prime Meats with NYU grad student Nancy, I had experienced the imported version of Italian food originating at Frankies 457 – immediately next door.

Interior of Prime Meats

But that lunch, after my vintage hat box purchase at the Brooklyn Flea Market, would instead be German. Prime Meats’ menu is intact with The Franks’ restaurant philosophy, with housemade items and farm-to-table ingredients. The servers wear suspenders, cuffed jeans and pin-striped shirts; I had never been inside a German restaurant that had so successfully turned “dingy” on its side to yield “hip.” And here we were. Brooklyn. It was a beautiful, sunny day when we visited, and natural light flooded the doubly-expanded, distressed, wooden interior.

Though our fellow diners seemed to prefer breakfast, Nancy and I both settled on lunch. I was eager to try another interpretation of the German influences that had been so prevalent in my Midwest upbringing – or at least experience the Brooklyn, artisanal approach to it. Nancy’s Sauerbraten was dressed with braised red cabbage and came with a side of Bavarian mustard. The housemade pretzel braid that encased the sandwich, however, was key. I may have stolen a bite when she went to the bathroom, and had tried to refrain from asking for that third or fourth bite once she returned. That is my confession.

Weisswurst, Sweet Mustard, Pretzel Roll ($10)

That’s not to say that I was in the least bit dissatisfied with my serving of Weisswurst – made with minced veal and pork bacon. The server helpfully divulged that typically, the wurst is opened and the interior spooned out onto a roll – but that this housemade version was completely edible, inclusive of casing.

And he was right. It steamed as I cut it open and its texture inside was perfectly tender yet bouncy to the bite. I was really blown away by the mustard (also made in-house, of course) with its potency and subtle sweetness.

This is definitely a place that I would slate for a re-visit with purposes of trying more selections on the menu. It’s also a restaurant that would inspire me to call Brooklyn my home should I ever move to the East Coast, what with Prime Meats’ kitchen open until 1 or 2 AM. (It could be that early kitchen closing time is just an L.A. thing – grrr.) The prices are more than reasonable, staying true to making artisanal and simply prepared food accessible. Who knew that probably my favorite, casual German restaurant would be in Brooklyn?

Breakfast
Everyday: 7 AM – 1 PM
Sat & Sun: 7 AM – 3 PM

Lunch & Dinner
Mon – Wed 1 PM – 1 AM
Thurs 1 PM – 2 AM
Fri – Sat 3 PM – 2 AM
Sun 3 PM – 1 AM

No reservations

Prime Meats
465 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
718.254.0327