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Grindhaus Gourmet Sausages Cranks Out A Winner
That lonesome stretch between the 101 and Thai Town is not a particularly pretty slice of Hollywood Boulevard. Traveling east, the sidewalk stars (both living and marbled) have long since dissipated, and the lights and smells of a cultural identity are still on the horizon. Not much in the way of palm trees, and a desperate Pier 1 Imports hides behind a cement half-wall. But then again, there’s nothing particularly pretty about sausages, either. Which is perhaps the reason new gourmet sausage shop Grindhaus decided to open its doors at 5634 Hollywood Boulevard last week, just a few links away from an auto body shop, a bodega, and a tattoo parlor.
Yet to look at Grindhaus from the outside, compared to the company of its neighbors, is to be perplexed. The space is immaculate and simplistic, a far cry from so much surrounding clutter. The walls are a fresh white, save for a chalkboard pig delivering the menu. The meat case itself, the main attraction, is only about six feet wide, lined with metal holding trays stocked with cased meats both straightforward and off-the-radar. And the shining little meat grinder attached to the customer side of the solitary wood table? A quiet nod to getting the small things right.
The bestial roster is stocked with trusty old veterans and wiley sausage rookies; combinations not found together often. The usual bratwursts and spicy Italian sausages share space with lamb merguez, chicken chorizo, venison, and wild boar bratwurst. Rounding out the glass enclosure is a carefully curated selection of pickled vegetables, all hand-jarred and ready to take home. Since Grindhaus is so new it’s hard to comment on the ‘popular selections’, but the cabbage, green beans, and homemade mustards appeared to be at the top of the class.
Once home the venison, spicy Italian and boar show their true colors. Mottled, plum, and soft to the touch; these brimming babies are certainly fresh. Once in the pan, the casings had a bit of trouble keeping up with the heat and one of the sausages suffered an unfortunate blowout (photo would be practically NSFW). For the most part, though, all three browned nicely and never firmed up into tough disks like so many store bought links.
As for flavor? Well, two out of three ain’t bad. The spicy Italian sausage was a few grades better than average, but lacked some final heat when gotten into. Perhaps the ‘mild’ version is a place to play it safe with the spices, but the ‘hot’ should be just that. Meanwhile, the venison was an absolute delight from end to end, providing a loose grind, plenty of juices and heaps of natural flavor. For anyone accustomed to growing up with venison, this sausage is a treat (and if the lone Yelp review is to be believed, word is already out). Unfortunately, the boar didn’t fare as well as the others. While inventive and definitely worth a second look in the meat case, it ultimately proved too gamey and pungent. Maybe with a proper charcoal grilling the smoke could really blend the flavors more completely, but on a regular stovetop they sounded out a bit too strongly.
All in all, Grindhaus puts together a fine collection of gourmet sausages in an attractive storefront package. They’ve also got a food truck that will be rolling out soon (@GrindhausLA), so the lazy caveman in all of us has no excuse to get out and find himself a bratwurst. Meanwhile, as night continues to fall early this winter, be on the lookout for the all-glass entrance, brimming with white lights like a beacon in an otherwise choppy series of blocks.
5634 Hollywood Boulevard
Open daily 10 - 8
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