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Andy’s sausages get XL

The old brick-and-mortar face of Andy’s Craft Sausages near Yashow did not escape the wrath of Beijing’s latest wave of renovations. In December, the chengguan informed Andy that he should start tearing down his awnings or they would do it for him. “We knew it was coming,” he says. He had come to terms with the fact that his sausage company would probably just be a wholesale/delivery operation, when XL Bar owner Jane Cui came to the rescue. Since mid-April, Andy has been serving breakfast and sausage sandwiches there until 4pm, offering a simple, no-nonsense menu.

We visited on one of the first days when it was warm enough to sit outside, and the atmosphere was nice and laid-back in a summer-on-the-back-porch kind of way. We tried the sausage, egg, and cheddar sandwich on a bagel (¥40), which was satisfyingly hearty, though we found the bagel a bit dry. The Philly cheesesteak (¥45) was incredible. With soft bread, melted cheese, grilled onions and peppers in a creamy, spicy cheese sauce, it’s authentic East Coast greasy-spoon fare. It is not, however, structurally sound. Grease and sauce exploded onto our fingers, and a fork was needed to finish the job. At the same time, who eats a cheesesteak to be classy?

Except for a few friends of Andy’s, the place was completely empty. “We’ve kept it quiet,” he says. Andy tells us they are still getting settled into their new digs and refining the menu. They have been experimenting with making reubens and possibly even baking their own rye bread. But, Andy claims he won’t do it unless he’s sure he can make true, Jewish-deli style rye. Okay, Andy. We’ll be back just as soon as that’s ready.