From its opening last summer I've thought of Wvrst as that wide-open restaurant, right downtown, with a menu tightly-focused on a broad selection of sausages and fries cooked in duck fat. With all the talk of ground kangaroo in tube form I don't think I realised just how much attention the people behind Wvrst are paying to their tap list.
I've revisited a few times and belatedly noticed how much I was enjoying what I was drinking (usually the company overwhelms the drink in these situations). And then I noticed the Big Wall. It's purpose seems to be one part announcing house policies ("No trash talking the Leafs during business hours…they suck, but you're still not better"), three parts event notice board, and the rest a sort of eclectic decoration.
Two items from the events section worth noticing, I think, are Industry Nights and Beer 101. On Mondays after 5 PM pints of Ontario craft beer (from Beau's, Kensington, King, Flying Monkeys, Church-Key, Sawdust City, and Black Oak) can be had for six dollars.
A series of beer workshops, Beer 101, brings brewery representatives in to talk to beer enthusiasts (from beginner to aficionado) about some of their most interesting offerings while Pat Thomson from Wvrst walks the class through samples from the sausage menu. Last night's event featured Sam Corbeil from Sawdust City. Hacker-Pschorr is on-deck for the end of June but look for the focus to return to Ontario later in the summer.
Between the opportunity to try some of the less available corners of a brewery's lineup and the careful attention that Wvrst pays to picking well-suited sausage pairings I have no difficulty recommending this event. The clincher: considering it's the equivalent of two sausages and at least four 5 oz samples it's good value at $25.
Several of us from the Spotlight Toronto team visited on a recent Monday to put the sausage menu through its paces and test the offerings with the discounted pints. Favourite votes were split pretty evenly between the elk and wild boar sausages. The only red flag was raised for the guinea fowl which some of us felt was made too salty or funky by the integrated aged cheese.
The regular fries are good enough that I wouldn't bother paying the dollar premium to upgrade to duck fat. The currywurst option–a spicy, thick sort of ketchup sauce–is an entirely authentic replacement for the bun and condiments for the German beer hall model but it's best ordered on the side for all sausages (they do that by default for the premium and game meats). That way you can choose where to land between "smothered" and "lightly dipped".
Wvrst smoothly manages to be something for a range of different customers. Leafs games (before their on-schedule exit much earlier in the spring), large birthday parties with a surprising diversity of first digits, and increasingly a home for craft beer amongst King West's spreading forest of condos.
Slideshow images 2 – 5 by Suresh Doss. All other photos by David Ort.
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.