Dude! It's a Total Sausage Fest. Brats Brothers. Sherman Oaks, CA.
Tweedledee & Tweedleyum aka the Brats Brothers.
What’s taking him so long?
Dude, just chill. He has to make sure.
This was the way many a Friday night began for me and my posse back in my last days of single.
How hard is it for him to figure out? Just look and see.
I gotta get out of this tiny Hyundai.
I gotta get my drunk on quick!
It was a constant fight against the clock and another thing that rhymes with clock.
Hold on, here he comes.
So, what’s the story, dude?
It’s a total sausage fest.
Crap. Let’s jet.
A sausage fest isn’t usually something I’d embrace because back in my Hollywood days that description only meant one thing—too many dudes at a party. That’s something this heterosexual Homo sapiens avoided as much as possible on a Friday night or any other night for that matter. Then again, if I were describing West Hollywood days, a sausage fest would be par for the course.
Recently, though, a more literal sausage fest has pitched tent in the San Fernando Valley on Ventura Boulevard, no less. But the difference is that this gathering of sausage is one I can happily salivate over without compromising my hetero-ness.
True, the Valley has been aching for some tasty tube steak since the demise of the venerated Weiner Factory, so it’s no surprise that something else has come along to somewhat fill the void. But what sets this sausage fest apart from your standard hot dog stand is the meat that you eat.
For the most part, people either don’t know or don’t want to know what’s in their hot dogs or sausages. And, for the most part, I don’t blame them. Who really wants to know what’s in that anonymously ground flesh? Anyway, it’s too late for me. I already know that all kinds of pig parts (and other undesirable things and miscellany) end up in a hot dog and it doesn’t really bother me since I eat those odd bits wittingly and willingly. In fact, I’d rather know than not know. And, to paraphrase GI Joe, knowing is half the dining experience.
The Brats Brothers is a place after my own heart. This quaint little Sherman Oaks sausage haus, embellished with small touches of Bavaria, proudly serves up some of the most exotic meats ever to see the insides of a sausage casing. Apart from their classic sausage selections—like the German brat, packed with veal, pork, onions and parsley—the Brats Bros also grill up wiener wonders like the Bavarian of which the DNA consists of smoked pork and beer. Alas, the booze in some of the sausages is the only way one can consume alcohol on the premises since Brats Bros doesn’t have a liquor license, so don't be tricked by all those festive beer steins lining the shelf. This really is a bummer because nothing pairs better with brats than a bock, bier or even a Bud. On the bright side, Peter, one of the two Brats Bros, mentioned that a future location, across from the Beverly Center, would offer beer...or just sneak in your own.
Get to the weird shit, dude! I know, I know. I just want to mention a couple things before I do. The owners and actual brothers, Peter and Roland, really treat this tiny restaurant like a labor of love. Never to skimp on the details, the roll’s design was researched thoroughly so as to snugly fit the sausage and also not be too fluffy. Bakeries practically needed to audition for the chance to create the supporting roll to the brothers’ brats, and in the end a bakery in Woodland Hills got that part.
Reminiscent of a French baguette, the rolls are very good as baguettes are concerned, but it’s an attention hog. The only hog I want to notice is the sausage. My only complaint: I’d rather have an easy-to-eat fluffy bun wrapping my sausage than a fancy roll.
Kustom Ketchup, Kuzzin!
The sausages themselves get even more attention and are made to the owners’ specs by a local butcher. If that’s not enough, Peter makes his own custom ketchup: curry and smoked flavors. A store bought plain ketchup is available too.
Custom ketchup is cute and all but I was here for the wild side of the menu. Two of the choices got my full attention right away. First, the Wild West brat is a buffalo and burgundy sausage that comprises of buffalo meat marinated in burgundy wine long enough to ensure lots of beefy wine flavor—a rich, savory combination. Buffalo meat is very, very lean therefore the Wild West brat is densely packed with meat since there’s hardly any fat. It’s also dry when compared to fattier pork sausages, but, regardless, this brat manages to retain a satisfying moistness. A spicy mustard made my Wild West even wilder and that’s just how I like it.
Flightless yet Nutty!
Throw another ostrich on the barbie, I always say. But, it’d have to be one helluva huge grill…unless, of course, that ostrich was shoved through a meat grinder and packed nicely into a sausage casing. The Aussie is a sausage I could not wait to sink my teeth into and that’s simply because I’d never eaten ostrich before. Ostrich, I’d soon learn, is nothing like chicken at all. It’s not even like a really big chicken. It’s more like a cow…or horse (from what I’m told by Brother Peter). The meat is red, which explained why my sausage was so red. Again, like the buffalo, it’s very lean, a little dry but still manages to be pleasantly moist. The Aussie also includes crushed pistachio nuts blended in with the ostrich so as to break up the meat a bit. I like the Beaver brand, sweet and hot mustard as a condiment to this strange bird of a sausage. The spicy and sweet really bring out that ostrichy-ness or beefiness or horsey-ness or whatever this weird, flightless bird’s meat reminds you of.
What’s going to keep me coming back for more is the Brats Bros' predilection for the bizarre. Coming soon to the wild side of the menu are duck, pheasant, wild boar and alligator. Maybe the Brats Bros could consider nicknaming these new sausages the Daffy, the Little Grouse on the Prairie, the Ugly Stinky and the See Ya Later…
Gourmet Sausage Grill
13456 1/2 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Mon-Sat: 1130am to 700pm