There were always plenty of good butchers around town, if you knew where to look, but now that butchery has, for better and worse, acquired a patina of hipness, meat and potatoes, with all the old world comfort and stodginess they represent, are safe again for the younger set. Perhaps the best thing about the German invasion of 2010/2011 is the proliferation of sausage shops in Los Angeles. Some of them are even run by Germans.
In a former pupuseria next to a top-notch gelateria, Berlin Currywurst moved in several months ago, introducing Angelenos to the heretofore unexploited pleasures of Germany's ubiquitous street food.
Currywurst is, more or less, grilled sausage that's sliced and drenched in curried ketchup. At Berlin Currywurst, a small, modern-rustic shop with a pleasant atmosphere and a patio that's ideally situated for people-watching, the currywurst is a mix-and-match affair.
Start with one of eight sausages. The porky paprikawurst with hits of garlic has a terrific snap, as does the scharfe käsewurst, a non-Germanic mix of beef, jalapeno and cheddar. The menu also has classic wursts like brat and bock, and for the vegetarians, a couple of tofu options.
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Choose one of four flavored ketchups. Mitte is good for a slight jammy hint of fruit, but garlicky Alexanderplatz is the classic. Then pick your level of heat. Even level 1 is spicy, so go easy unless you're the kind of person who shows up at Jitlada restaurants with a card printed in Thai that says, "I like spicy food. No, really. When I say I want it spicy, pretend I am not a white person and give it to me at Thai-level spicy. Thank you."
Don't miss the fries at Berlin Currywurst. The thick sturdy potato stalks are lovingly browned and still fluffy on the inside.
Your pick will arrive grilled, sliced and blanketed in ketchup with a side of excellent brown bread. The truth is, by the time they've dumped enough ketchup on the sausage and dusted it with spicy heat magic, it's hard to taste the sausage underneath. Meat purists won't be pleased, but damn them all to hell, anyway.
Berlin Currywurst is an ideal eatery for Sunset Junction. Small, unpretentious, affordable, hearty and simple. No complicated menus appended with overly long ingredient provenances. This is meat and potatoes for the modern city.