Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wrvst vs Fusia Dog

Gourmet hamburger joints have been around for a while and lately new ones seem to be popping up everywhere.  But the latest culinary trend of eateries that specialize in one main staple is expanding to include a variety of foods including grilled cheese sandwiches, porchetta sandwiches, meat balls, and sausages.  We recently had the opportunity to compare and contrast two recently opened sausage restaurants.

Wrvst (think bratwurst) features sausages made from a wide variety of meats ranging from the traditional (pork, beef, lamb) for $6, to poultry or non meats (a.k.a tofu) for $7, to exotic (boar, bison, elk, kangaroo, rabbit, etc.) for $9.

The grilled sausages are served on a fresh chewy bun, topped with 2 choices from either grilled onions, sweet red peppers or sauerkraut.  Three types of mustard and a home made ketchup are available as condiments.  Alternately you can have the sausage sliced up, topped with a tomato curry sauce and a slice of bread.  Fries can be fried in duck fat or topped with peppers, jalapeno and sauteed onions.  They come with a choice of mayo, tomato or yogurt based dipping sauces of various flavours such as curry, chive&garlic or chipotle.

We tried the wild boar with mushrooms and tea(??) and duck with maple and fois gras sausages.  They were both nicely grilled, flavourfully spiced and tasty.  Of course we could not resist the idea of duck fat fries but we didn't really taste any difference, especially after dipping them in curry and wrvst (spicy) sauces.  The fries were also thicker than we like them since we prefer thin crispy fries.

Wvrst is in the huge space that used to be the old Thuet location but is now a casual fast food restaurant where the sausages are ordered at the counter and seating is at long communal tables with bench seating.  On a Saturday afternoon with just a few diners, the place seemed cavernous, but I guess it fills up at lunchtime on weekdays, or maybe at night during hockey games projected on a 10 ft screen.

By contrast, Fusia Dog by Dinah Koo (formerly of Wanda's In the Kitchen with Dinah) is a very small venue on a side street a few blocks from the Entertainment district.  It has just a few seats and seems more of a takeout joint.

Also selling gourmet priced hotdogs and sausages, the spin here is that these are "multicultural dogs".  The meats are mostly beef or chicken with some vegetarian options and one exotic meat which is duck.  So for $7-9, what you are paying premium for is a bunch of toppings and the concept of eating a "Chop suey" dog (with stir fried veggies, ketchup, hickory stick potato chips), Mediterranean dog (grilled veggies, feta cheese, olives), Peking duck quesadilla  (duck skin with carrots, scallions, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce).

We tried the Fusia dog (beef dog with kimchee, carrot salad, wasabi mayo and coriander in a wrap) and the Crispy Cream dog (beef dog with pork belly, scallions, cream cheese and mustard).  As they had just opened, they gave us some free sample salads so we had a cold broccoli salad and a luke warm potato salad.  I thought the experience was more gimmick than superb dining experience.  For me the best part of the meal were the home made potato chips, and the icy cold Boylan black cherry cola on the very hot day.

In my opinion, Wrvst was best (pun intended) in this sausage war.  Although I'm not sure that either option is worth twice the price of the good old fashioned street sausage, especially from those vendors that provide a slew of toppings including sweet corn, tomato, bacon bits, or if you go to the truck on Queen St in front of City Hall, you can even get grilled onions and mushrooms!

Wrvst - 609 King St West
Fusia Dog - 65 Duncan St.      

1 comment:

Bernie said...

It's interesting: I came across a popular blog that was highlighting a meatball restaurant in NYC just the other day. I guess they are trying to capture that market that fancy hamburger places had.

As always, I love this blog!