I have sausage envy.
Maybe it’s because I live in a city where my choices are limited to mild or hot italian. Maybe it’s because I still reminisce about the mustard laden monstrosity I had during Oktoberfest in Munich last year (even though it’s width that matters, not length right?)
Wvrst opened a couple of years ago in an attempt to mesh the Oktoberfest experience with the downtown Toronto dining scene. Nicely polished wooden communal tables fill the second-story open space as music (don’t expect any Walter Ostanek) fills the air. Against one wall are shelves full of beer beside 16 or so draught taps ranging from local to international, with a focus on German favorites. In the back is where you order, pay and have a seat.
The menu is like the United Nations of sausage. With around two dozen choices, one can stick with a traditional German brat, an italian pork sausage or experience the tastes of South Africa, Tunisia, Slovania or Mexico. If you’re more of a Duck Dynasty fan, you can opt for Guniea fowl, pheasant or duck. Big game like wild boar, elk, venison and bison compete for you palate with cute bunnies and kangaroos. There are even vegetarian options for those who choose to eat what food eats. You can top your choice with peppers, sauerkraut or jalapenos or even a tomato curry sauce.
The fries are available straight up or dirty and with or without duck fat. Dirty means topping them with the same toppings available for the sausage. If you don’t want it dirty, you can get one of about a dozen dipping sauces on the sauce.
Masked with onion and jalapenos, I suppose I could say this was any of the majestic meats, but I did opt for wild boar stuffed with mushroom and tea. The bun was like the old lady down the street; crusty on the outside but soft in the middle. I went dirty and ducky with the fries. They were magically filthy, like playing in the dirt and making mud pies.
Wvrst employees know their beer yet keep the pretension to a minimum. I mean, they use cool words like “tap takeover” and are keen to discuss the evolution of North American hops but don’t look at you like you’re an inferior moron (unless of course you insist on a bud light or try to argue that the Keith’s Cascade Hop Ale is a real beer). Featuring a slew of Quebec taps, I had a Shawinigan Handshake, a fruity and complex IPA with tremendous balance. Apparently it’s hitting the LCBO in the coming weeks (thanks to the informative barkeep for the tip).
I suppose I should insert the cliche comments about this phonetically challenged restaurant. Wvsrt lacks a vowel but doesn’t lack character. There’s no u in wvest and no i in beer (unless you’re in France or Quebec). This place is well wvrst in touting the sausage. Despite only a handful of menu items, the vast array of encased critters makes for a tough decision. The duck fries, alone or adorned with the dirt, are highly addictive. The beer selection rivals anywhere in the Toronto. The staff are knowledgeable, engaged and friendly. It can get quite loud either due to the bellowing, glass clinking drunkards lining the communal tables and/or the blaring music filling the open, square dining area. Even without lederhosen and dirndls, Wvrst has all the elements to ease my aching sausage envy without having to resort to one of the numerous hot dog carts clogging the downtown core.