I had first heard about currywurst after watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, when he went to Berlin. He was meeting with some ex-CIA operative and chatting about the Cold War over...currywurst. Curry in German food? (side note: happy continuing-of-curry-week)
Apparently, a very popular food from Berlin is sausage + ketchup + curry powder. It sounds so crazy it just might work.
And it does. We got a combo of beef and pork wurst along with Maharadja and Anapura curry powders, and a side of fries. It was kind of strange to walk into the restaurant - which opened this summer and looks very cute with sausages shaped like smiley faces and hearts for eyes - and not hear sizzling or smell smokey stuff cooking on a grill or flattop. There was this one lone heating element with a few wursts sitting on it awkwardly and quietly. I had a few doubts. On the plus side, no lingering smoke-food-smell. On the minus side...would these barely-cooked wursts be the worst?
Maybe some magic cooking went on behind the scenes, but the currywurst turned out to be curry-licious. Each plate had a little ocean of cut-up sausage bits soaking in a brown sauce (not quite ketchup-red, but tasting along the lines of ketchup) and dusted with spindly yellow curry powder. A mountain of chunky fries sloped towards the sauce.
The whole meal was really interesting. I couldn't tell the difference between the pork or beef, but the different curry powders were quite distinct. The Anapura was a little more bitter and straight-up spicy, but the Maharadja was a touch sweeter. Neither were super spicy, but left a warm burning sensation in my mouth. Don't know if I'd call it a pleasant warm burning sensation...but it tasted good, and the sausages somehow managed to get nice and hot. The sausage bits needed a good stir to incorporate all the curry powder so you wouldn't get a mouthful of spice. I actually really enjoyed the sausages; they had a slight crunch to the skin and the texture of the meat was really smooth. Contrast that smooth texture to that of, say, Italian sausages, where the meat is more coarsely ground with spices intermixed. These sausages trended more towards hot-doggy taste and texture, which isn't a bad thing. The fries were extremely salty - maybe a little bit overwhelming after having a load of ketchup and curry in each bite of meat - but still decent.
I was on my way to food coma when we finished, which is a fairly unpleasant feeling...
...But then when I got home, I realized I was craving currywurst all over again.
182 Bleeker Street
182 Bleeker Street