When I tell people that I have a blog about sandwiches, they tend to ask the same questions (once they stop laughing in disbelief). One of the big questions that seems to come up is whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich. You’d be surprised how long the conversation lasts until everyone realizes that they have better things to do. I only bring this up because I recently tried Wursthaus in Downtown Santa Ana and was wrestling with whether or not I should write about it. After weeks and weeks of careful deliberation, I’ve decided to write this blog post. My bravery (and humbleness) in the face of adversity knows no limits.
Wursthaus is a German-style beer house that specializes in European beers and exotic sausages. The restaurant itself is deceptively large, especially when you realize that there is a whole bar and seating section behind the counter.
There are two type of buns you can choose for your sausage: a grinder roll or a pretzel bun. They are both baked fresh daily and come out hot a beautifully crispy. When it comes to texture and flavors, this is exactly what I look for in the bread of my sandwich. I tried to identify the difference between the pretzel and grinder roll, but they were surprisingly similar. It may be because of the sausage and all the toppings, but you’re pretty safe going with either choice.
Every sandwich at Wursthaus is a custom one. You choose everything, from the sausage to the toppings. I have a tendency to deliberate over toppings for too long, so I just went with everything; one sausage having the drunken onions, the other, sauteed onions. I tried to differentiate the onions cooked in beer and the sauteed ones, it really didn’t make much of a difference to me. Quite Frankly, either one is good if you like onions. I soon realized that the minutiae of the sandwiches was good, but more or less the same, what really made the difference was the sausage.
The Smoked Cheddar IPA Bratwurst was the first thing that caught my eye. I’m no sausage afficionado (despite what the trolls on twitter say about me), but when I think of sausage this is what comes to mind. Not so much the cheddar filled part of the bratwurst, but the smokey and cured flavors that come after. It’s especially good when combined with the spice of mustard and the fermented flavors of Saurkraut.
The Sicilian was a more herbaceous sausage filled with provolone cheese. It’s filling of parsley and garlic were apparent, even when mixed with mustard and all the toppings. It was good, but I think I preferred the smokey flavors of the bratwurst more.
On the table, there are several different mustards to choose from. The sausages and toppings are salty enough that you really don’t need them, but the mustard does add another level of flavor to everything. If you’re not into mustard, there is a whole selection of dipping sauces that you can order for 50 cents. Personally, I can’t think of a better mustard for sausage than a spicy/horseradish based one.
So are these sausages sandwiches? who the hell knows. Either way, I’m happy I tried Wursthaus. The food took a little longer than expected but it was worth the wait. Sausages/Hot dogs can pretty much be found anywhere, so it takes something elevated to really shine through. The beer selection here is pretty righteous too, so when you decide to try this place, make sure your stomach is ready.
305 E 4th St #106
Santa Ana, CA 92701
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