Chez Pascal's Wurst Kitchen: Hope Street, ProvidenceMay 30, 2014
My love of food in America is pretty well documented at this point, so I feel I'm allowed to make a criticism. Sorry America but you do not make good sausage- even a number of your fellow countrymen have agreed with me on this point.
Sausage in America can mean a number of things- it can be breakfast sausage in the form of a patty or links, it can be the type you might find on pizza or in a pasta dish, it could be a hot dog or frankfurter style. Each have their place, but none is up there with a good old British banger.
I try not to find the 'American version' of English foods, homesickness calls for a little English style cooking now and then but I feel when in Rome (or Rhode Island) live and eat as the locals do.
Feeling a bit sausage bereft (and spending some time looking up sausage stuffing apparatus online- don't do this by the way- scary) I remembered that we now live in the same neighborhood as a place cooking up feasts from another sausage loving country. Germany.
Though tucked into a cosy corner of the French restaurant, Chez Pascal, The Wurst Kitchen (ironically it's one the the best kitchens in Providence in my opinion) cooks delicious wurst and Germanic style dishes in a modern American style.
The menu is mostly made up of appetizers, small plates and sausages so rather than your traditional three courses you are encouraged to try a range of things. In our case that meant ordering pretty much everything.
We had some delicious devilled eggs to start, the yolk whipped into a creamy mousse with chorizo/chouricco spices and topped with a fresh, lightly dress slaw. I don't love egg white on it's own but the spices of the chouricco yolk were nicely balanced by the milky, gelatinous egg white.
The bread was doused in butter and fennel then warmed in the oven until it was lovely and crisp, the crust roasted and glistening with rich, salty butter.
I thought I would try to temper the meat-fest with some greens so ordered the broccoli rabe which was wilted but still had a nice crunch to it, and covered with a sweet bacon jam. I sometimes find broccoli rabe a bit bitter so the sweetness of the savoury bacon jam was a nice combination.
One of the specials was pork croquettes. Served incredibly hot straight from the bar/pass at which we were sitting, Chris, the simply brilliant chef, warned us to let them cool off before diving in. We couldn't wait too long before getting stuck in, and extremely hot though they were it was worth the 'hooo-ing and haaahing' and the look of 'I did tell you' from Chris as they were delicious.
The Wurst Kitchen is tucked into the front of Chez Pascale and consists of two large communal tables plus a hightop bar which overlooks the small open kitchen. We, on the great advise of a friend, requested seats at this bar and were rewarding with a brilliant cooking show along with our food.
For those not dining in, there is the Wurst Window- where you can grab the lunchtime, bun bound versions of the wurst dishes on the hoof.
For the main event we chose the weisswurst with curried onion and dijon sauce. Now this is a sausage. Meaty, firm, and full of flavour. The texture wasn't grainy or fatty, and didn't disintegrate away from the skin when it was cut. I have fallen in love with a sausage.
Fortunately the Wurst Kitchen also sell sausages by the packet. Pre-cooked, they can be enjoyed as a cold-cut or grilled to give them the intensified flavour that we enjoyed.
Completely sated by the pork feast we had just devoured, we did not need to peruse the dessert menu. But this was only because Chris had told us we HAD to have the pear cake topped with blue cheese.
I adore the pairing of very savoury with very sweet and blue cheese and pear is a particular favourite- check out my blue cheese scones with pear jam recipe!
Like everything else at Chez Pascal's Wurst Kitchen the dessert was incredible. The team at the kitchen are lovely, the atmosphere special but relaxed and the flavours has certainly given me something to think about. That and the package of wurst I'm taking home with me.
Chez Pascal's Wurst Kitchen, 960 Hope Street, Providence, Rhode Island.