Flatiron Lunch: Brats Serves Up Delicious Sausage to Chelsea
Every Friday our man UltraClay goes south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
Last fall, a friend told me about the opening of Brats a casual diner by Chef Daniel Angerer on 23rd Street and 9th Avenue. I don’t really know much about the chef, but the name alone got my attention. Calling itself a sort of Austrian diner, they focus on housemade sausages of all sorts of varieties.
Inside, Brats looks like an old school diner, with a long counter taking up most of the space and a small, curved banquette in the back. Impressively, they manage to pull off the look without looking too kitschy. Behind the counter, they serve wine and beer, but I didn’t get a close enough look to speak to the selection.
The menu sports a half dozen types of sausages along with pretzels, slaw and other generally Austrian-ish sides.
On my first visit, I clearly had to go with the Bratwurst ($7.95). The sausage was juicy and lightly spiced without being bland. The grill marks seared into the side of it had just enough char to leave a salty balance to the other flavors. The bun was toasted on a press, which would have been great, except that it then couldn’t quite stand up to all the sauerkraut packed inside.
On my second visit, I went with the Dragon sausage ($7.95), topped with pickled red cabbage, pea shoots & a sriracha mustard. Sadly, it was not particularly spicy, even doused in the mustard mix. Great sausage though. The tang from the cabbage and the mustard balanced the sweetness of the meat. The bun held together much better. It was still pressed, but was crisp in some areas and chewy in the middle.
Going with the diner decor, Brats also offers a selection of inventive milkshakes. I was intrigued by the bacon-topped vanilla milkshake ($5.95). It was milkier than I’d like, not really thick at all.
That was a problem, because, the bacon bits got stuck in the straw, but the shake wasn’t thick enough to scoop out with a spoon. The bacon also wasn’t really big enough to notice outside of the occasional smokey flavor. In the end, I got most of them in one gulp at the bottom of the cup when it was all done.
Brats isn’t just pricey sausages and odd milkshakes. For the budget minded, they also sell housemade hot dogs for a dollar each. I only caught the sign as I was walking out and I had a date with a doughnut, so there wasn’t room for me to give it a try just yet, but it’s at the top of my list to try when I’m next over there.
Even with my somewhat more regular trips to Chelsea, I can’t say that 9th Avenue is along my path all that often. Brats is great and I’ve wanted to return, but it doesn’t quite justify going that far out of my way very often. If you are local to the area working, living, drinking or going to the movies, I’d absolutely recommend stopping in and exploring the menu as often as possible.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Juicy, delicious sausage!
- What? I need more?
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- 9th Avenue is such a schlep to get to
- The milkshakes are way too thin
Brats, 362 West 23rd Street, 646-350-2557