Thursday, January 9, 2014

Restaurant Review: The Wurst Window/Kitchen at Chez Pascal

Give me your wurst... please.  And by wurst, I mean Chez Pascal's house-made sausages, cured meats and other pork delights.  The restaurant gets whole pigs from a farm in New Hampshire then does the majority of the butchering in-house.  

What is the Wurst Window/Kitchen?  It is the outdoor (Window) versus indoor (Kitchen) component to a specialty dining experience at Chez Pascal in Providence.  Within the same building lies an upscale French restaurant (Chez Pascal) and a more approachable and low key dining experience (Wurst Window/Kitchen).  One walks into the restaurant and past the bar to the Wurst Kitchen where you can be seated at unique high top tables or at the bar where you can watch the chefs with their wurst.  Or, if you are dining outside or on the go, stop by the Wurst Window where you can order your wurst right there, street side.  Got it?

Now, I hope you can appreciate how difficult it can be for a young woman to write a blog about sausages and pork products with a straight face while attempting to not dip into innuendo sentence after sentence.  I will do my best, but I promise nothing.

I've been coming to the Wurst Window/Kitchen for sometime, and it is about time that I shared my love of these sausages with you.

So, to start with, take a look at these sausages, they are the absolute in wurst:

Beer Bratwurst, Jagerwurst and Bacon-wrapped Pork Meatloaf Sandwich

At the top of the photo is the Beer Bratwurst ($3.50) with beer onions, sea salty feta cheese and house mustard.  The bottom wurst is the same without the feta, because I am lactose challenged... yay.  The sausage is juicy, not fatty; the onions are super tasty and savory and the dijon is just slightly sweet and spicy.

Second from the top is the Jagerwurst ($3.50) with braised red cabbage, pistachios and apple dijon.  Pistachios in sausage you say?  I do say.  What an interesting textural experience.  I don't find that it adds much flavor, but it is pretty and fun to eat.  Again, the braised red cabbage is nicely and slightly sweet along with the apple dijon.

Another Jagerwurst, close up.  Shame you can't see the pistachios in it.
Third one down is actually a Bacon-wrapped Pork Meatloaf sandwich with coleslaw and a spicy fig compote.  It's all quality stuff and you can actually taste all of the individual components as they blend together to create the dish.  But as you can guess, I find it just a touch sweet, but still good.

Pictured below is an appetizer of house-made wieners with fig compote with cole slaw:

Wurst Kitchen specialty of weiners with fig compote and house-made cole slaw.
I find that the sausages are just a touch on the sweet side, and that doesn't bother me.  I also find the dijon a bit on the sweet side and that also doesn't bother me.  You know what I love about the experience of these sausages?  The meat to bun ratio is spot on.  Also, the buns are always lightly grilled with just a hint of butter or oily goodness.  Whichever it is, I don't care, because I like it.  That's right, I like how the buns and the sausages work together...

One thing I'd like to mention, although many of these sausage dishes stay relatively the same, many of the topping are based on seasonality, in-house creativity and of course availability.  What is available one week or month could be slightly or entirely different on your next visit.   

Take these for example:

Chorizo sausage and Pickled Green Tomato and Baked Bean sausage

One day, I went with a friend to the Wurst Kitchen and we couldn't decide which sausage we wanted.  So, we split two sausages.  Just a couple of girls who can't decide on which sausage they want.  Anywho, the one on the left is the Chorizo ($3.50) with potatoes and typically comes with feta.  But we've gone over this.  The chorizo had a nice spice to it and the potatoes added a nice textural and starchy component.  

The one on the right, I can't remember the names but it has pickled green tomatoes, feta and baked beans.  A nice combination of sweet, tangy and savory from the baked beans.  

All of the sausages come with a side of potato salad, which I'm not crazy about to be honest.  But it's just not my taste.  It's also not what I wanna eat with a sausage.  I want beans or French fries with my sausage, on the side, of course.

If you are starting to understand my palate you know that I have insatiable chocolate cravings, and after a nice savory meal I like some sweets.  Well, the Wurst Window/Kitchen has some creative and satisfying sweets:

Caramel and Chocolate Pudding with whipped cream

Welcome to the Caramel and Chocolate Pudding with whipped cream ($3.50).  The caramel is not overpowering, in fact, it's sugary sweetness seems a bit tamed by some nice heavy cream.  The chocolate pudding has a fantastic almost bittersweet chocolate flavor that is very rich and the whipped cream was clearly freshly made.  I actually didn't finish it all, which made for a nice mid-afternoon snack.


Salty Chocolate Chip Cookie

Here is the Salty Chocolate Chip Cookie ($1.25), and only half of it.  I really do love the salty and sweet combination.  I'm not saying that this cookie was the size of my face, but it was close.  I just loved it dammit.  There were nice big pieces of what I think was semi-sweet chocolate and nice flecks of salt.  Yes... just yes.

Honestly, what you get for the price here is insane.  You get gourmet ingredients thoughtfully and lovingly prepared for a reasonable price.  The Wurst Window/Kitchen is definitely a specific craving I get from time to time, and I plan on satisfying that craving on many return visits.

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