It’s 4 p.m., and over the snapping sound of my last bite, I hear the only three guys at the bar debating whether an open-faced sandwich is still technically a sandwich, and, if so, where do the boundaries lie?
“Is a folded pizza a sandwich, then?” one buffoon asks another. “Is a Pop Tart a ravioli?” This circular conversation got me thinking of one of my favorite snacks, something that also has many names. Something I happened to be devouring in that very moment.
A sausage, a brat, a link — call it what you will. I’m the kind of guy who just needs a dog every once a while. Maybe it’s my animal instincts, maybe it’s my inability to resist any temptations regarding pork — but no matter the cause, if too much time passes, my heart will begin to ache and beckon for seasoned minced meat stuffed in casings. San Francisco may not be famous for its wieners — at least not the ones I’m referring to — but it does have its choices in the meat-stick department. Among a few are the infamous bacon-wrapped Mission dogs, Rosamunde’s grilled bangers, Golden Gate Fields’ $1 boiled Sunday saugies, and my favorite: Gestalt Haus’ sausages.
Gestalt is a friendly bike bar locate in the Mission on 16th Street between Guerrero and Valencia streets, known for its abundance of pinball machines and German draft beers. Gestalt also serves some of the tastiest sausages in the city. At $7 a pop, and with choices like andouille (spicy pork), Louisiana hot link (spicy beef), smoked bratwurst (pork and veal), and vegan (apple sage or Italian), there are plenty of options to accommodate the beer drinker’s fine-tuned palate.
Each sausage comes with sauerkraut, onions, and spicy peppers, and if you’re really feeling the spirit, you can even have the dog served in a pretzel bun! There are also what seems like hundreds of different hot sauces and mustards to choose from. Each sausage is tender and soft on the inside, with a tight skin that cracks and pops at every bite. The buns are warm and crunchy with a fresh pillowy texture creating the perfect transportation device for the Bavarian layers of mustard and kraut. My favorite is the andouille, because I’m prone to anything spicy and packed with pig, but I’ve tried every sausage at Gestalt and they are all equally delicious.
Gestalt Haus is just a cool bar. It’s never too crowded, it opens at noon, and it has more pinball than an arcade. There is also something about sitting at a bar with a hot dog and a beer that feels so right, like sitting on the beach with a Rum Runner and a spliff. It was simply meant to be. Then again, what isn’t there to love about any bar with a bartender who pours you a cold one and cooks you lunch in the toaster oven? I hope there are many more bars like Gestalt Haus, and I can’t wait try them all.
Gestalt Haus, 3159 16th St. 415-655-9935, no website