Brat’s Brothers – Sherman Oaks, CA. – – – Not your ordinary doughnut shop!

What has become almost a tradition, is now more of a pain in the ass. Venturing to far-off lands on a road trip and desiring to stop the car, pee and eat something, has now become more of a burden than an adventure. I’m talking about finding just the right place along the road, family in tow, and now needing to stop. Damn sophisticated  GPS systems only tell you what they know…or have been pre-programmed to display, even if your’s is GPS enabled. Our road adventures have recently become, for us, to find the various food establishments highlighted on several Food Network television programs along the way. This works for us because we would like to eat something, and knowing that we can always stop at the “known” places like Denny’s, Chili’s or Jack-in-the-Box; we would like to enjoy something new, something different, yet something known…or at least, revered by a known (personality) television food professional. Why not? Think about it…how many times do you ask someone, “where’s a good place around here to eat”? My guess is, more times than you realize. I stopped using “Yelp” because any yahoo can get on there and leave a comment. More times than not, those yahoo’s have no idea what goes on in the business, will leave drunken praises for a stellar Big Mac, or a staunch harassment for a popular brewery or eatery because they walked into a packed house on Saturday night… without a reservation. Dumb-asses!

Searching for a Diner, Drive-in and Dive (Triple-D) for lunch landed us in the Los Angeles area at Brats Brothers. A German sausage establishment that focuses its fair on creations of a demented phallic looking sort of hot dog. Well, maybe not all that, but they are making the ol’ sauseech out of a variety of wild ingredients and combinations, so this was a precarious sell to the family. Searching for this joint was  an adventure because our road trips do not always travel us along beaten paths which have been scrutinized or celebrated by these various television programs. Searching the internet and planning a route is not always easy, and down-right difficult to do while driving. The whole “distracted driving” thing comes into play here…so I suggest taking a hand-held device savvy person to sit shotgun for the ride. Hopefully they have the same sense of adventure.

Just after 11am, Brats Brothers was empty, dark and…, to my surprise…, the door was unlocked… Hell…, they were open.

Today was the 4th of July at lunchtime and there were parking meters in front, highlighted by the warning signs above them that read “except Sundays”. Well today was a Wednesday, and to add to our luck,there was a LAPD motorcycle officer standing right in front…oh, hell no…I’m not going to test my parallel parking skills in front of this guy! So we go around the corner and see the sign again, “except Sundays”. Well, I’m used to the signs reading “except Sundays and Holidays”. “Go ask the cop”, I tell my wife. So she goes over to him and I see him shrug his shoulders, then look up at the sign… His reply to her was “I don’t know, but I’m not going to give you a ticket”. Aren’t we in LA?…Isn’t he a LA cop? Worthless! Long story…I park in the unmetered area around the corner. This cop was waiting for his doughnut eating cop friends to eat at Brats Brothers. My guess is…, if the cops eat there, it must be pretty good… at least from a doughnut standpoint. We go in and sit down. The place quickly filled to about 1/3 capacity for lunch service, including about seven of these pastry laden cops. My thought is now…at least we should be safe in here…they may not be able to run after the thief, but they can throw their flashlight at ’em!

Always looking for something that sets the ordinary apart, I order Spaeztel with gravy, my wife the Wiener Schnitzel (no, not the hot dog); and for my son, a sausage sandwich of pork, turkey, beef and lamb. Now, I don’t remember learning that German (Bavarian) cuisine was so bland, but everything seemed tasteless, except for the sausage. I guess I mean to say, maybe everything was missing salt…or something. My wife’s Schnitzel was totally flavorless…totally. She’s not big on sausage anyway, so we went for something around that issue. Even her potato salad seemed to be needing salt. The flavors seemed to be there…just not the salt. My Spaeztel was made just as I remember from school. The gravy was full of meaningful flaovor…again, just weak on the salt. My son’s sausage had great flavor and plenty of salt; as did the “pretzel” sort-of-texture roll. He also had the “Bavarian Tater Tots”. These were not really what we had expected them to be, but I remember making something in school that resembled these…they were probably called something different. I also ordered the warm red cabbage…again, different. The whole salt thing is really an issue with me because I had to learn “salting” in school. I have many years of saltless-ness, because having a heart-healthy upbringing since the age of 15, I was used to not having salt in anything…so my chef-instructors had to really harp on me. I really kind of hate the “using salt” in everything but now I have a learned behavior…sorry!

Now maybe the cuisine at this joint is intended to allow or feature the use of the 10 squeeze bottles of mustards, BBQ sauces and ketchups that were on the table; or point you closer to the beer stein full of finger/germ laden dinnerware and stack of napkins like at mom’s house. But when I asked for a water, the server pointed me to a vat near the register that contained room temperature H2O. I was already thrown off by the “water-at-the-register thing…not even cold. Then I had to search for a cup, and found them to be located on a low shelf just below the watering trough. Kinda awkward; so maybe I’m just not used to things here, and I don’t want to berate Guy Fieri for highlighting this joint, because his show is based on viewer input. But when I went to the restroom I found a confusing set of creative features.  

One porcelain feature, I quickly knew, served an intended function. The other two made from used beer kegs…well, I wasn’t sure how many kids tried to was their hands in the urinal, or adults urinated in the sink! Drunk bastards…not the kids…the adults…they do serve alcohol here…YIKES!

This place also features a giant sausage/french fry eating challenge. I guess you have to consume it all in 30 minutes. There was a small group of successful patron that shared their picture on the wall. My guess is that I would not even be able to fathom even 1/2 of that power plate!!!

My wife definitely disliked this place. I, on the other hand, thought it to be … well … different! Just different! I did leave this place with a need to find the baby wipes from inside the car to freshen up from the greased-out feeling. Don’t quite know where that came from; but I couldn’t seem to get a firm grip on the steering wheel to speed away from those flashlight slingers if needed!

I’m going to give this place the ol’ Rodney King baton, because the LA cops need to spend less time in the doughnut house, and more time learning about the signs they’re employed to enforce!

10-4 … OVER and OUT!



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