As I walked into the Wurst Bar at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, I knew that I had made the right restaurant choice for dinner. The black leather booths, dynamic red walls and giant white bison head hanging behind the bar all give the place a vibe that says, “We’re offbeat, we’re out there and we want to feed you.” This bar has been rising in popularity since it opened this past January, and it is no surprise why.
I seated myself in a booth on the far wall, beneath the display of the bar’s name surrounded by three abstract wooden deer heads. A few moments later, a friendly waiter came out to greet me. He gave me some great insight into this very unique restaurant and bar.
The Wurst Bar is not a typical bar with typical bar food. The Wurst Bar offers a wide and wild menu full of creative dishes. I looked over the appetizer menu and saw that there were both traditional and innovative options that ranged in price from $3.25 to $6.95.
My waiter told me the popular appetizers were the Scotch eggs and the pimento cheese dip with pretzel bread nibs. Both of those appetizers sounded delicious, but I had spotted an appetizer called curry wurst mini corn dogs, and I needed to try them.
When the three mini corn dogs arrived at my table in a small baking tin, I was surprised by their size. These brats were shorter than traditional corn dogs but twice as stout. They were coated in a thick buttermilk curry batter. The breading itself was not very spicy; most of the curry flavor was in the spicy ketchup.
My waiter also gave me some pimento cheese with my corn dogs. I dipped the brat into the cheese and took a large bite of the most delicious cheese I have ever had the pleasure of eating.
The cheese dip is made with Peppadew peppers, which tasted bold and creamy at the same time. The dip was a little spicy, but it was not hot. The spice added a nice depth of flavor to the cheese.
Bratwurst entrees are divided into “usual” brats and “unusual” brats on the menu. The usual brats are flavors like the PBR poached bratwurst, which is filled with coriander and allspice, and the other usual brat flavors have other familiar meats. The unusual brats are truly unique flavors ranging from rabbit, fig and Viognier to spicy rattlesnake chorizo. Usual brats cost $6.50 and unusual brats are $7.75.
The Wurst Bar offers interesting vegetarian brats like the apple and pecan bratwurst and the hot seitan (an Asian wheat-based product that becomes similar to the look and texture of meat when cooked).
A diner can make their own one-of-a-kind bratwurst at The Wurst Bar. The diner gets to decide between a brioche or pretzel bun, choose between the many different options for a brat and then add as many toppings like sauerkraut, caramelized onions and peppers as they want for no charge.
For my dinner, I ordered a PBR brat in a brioche bun with caramelized onions and a side of tater tots. I was quite interested by the kimchi-kraut that was offered as a topping. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables made with many spices. I was a bit surprised to see this on a menu with bratwursts. My waiter told me that The Wurst Bar actually has a lot of Asian fusion in their food because the chef is Korean.
My bratwurst came to the table 10 minutes later in another small baking tin, lying in a soft bun over a bed of hot tater tots. I was not sure how to begin eating my bratwurst; it was huge and mounted high with caramelized onions, ketchup and the restaurant’s house-made stone ground mustard.
When I got my bearings and took a bite, I was intrigued by the flavors inside the bratwurst. The brat had a warm, dark flavor. The onions on top gave it a light sweetness and a tang, and the ketchup and mustard brought all of the flavors together into one very tasty bratwurst.
The Wurst Bar’s tater tots were the best I have ever had. They tasted nothing like the cheap oven tater tots so many kids grew up with. These tots were fresh, crispy and completely satisfying. Side of tater tots come in regular potato, white potato or a mix of the two for $2.50.
The Wurst Bar is a very unique restaurant that has successfully combined two vastly different food cultures – German and Korean – together in perfect harmony. The entire menu is quirky and unexpected, like the bar itself.
The Wurst Bar is located at 705 W. Cross St. in Ypsilanti and is open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
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