WAYNE GRETZKY'S OASIS (99 Blue Jays Way, at Wellington, 416-979-7825) Complete meals for $35 per person, including taxes, tip and a beer. Average main $11. Open Monday to Thursday 11:30 am to 1 am, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to 2 am, Sunday 11:30 am to 11 pm, 11 am opening if Jays are playing. Licensed. Access: three flights of stairs, washroom one flight down. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Given its usual afterthought status, bar food often seems more like a dining advisory than a dining category.
This would be wise counsel at Wayne Gretzky's Oasis, the rooftop patio surmounting Gretzky's entertainment district restaurant/bar/tourist trap.
The first thing this place needs is a privacy hedge.
The nearest condo balcony is 20 metres away. We lunched under the scrutiny of one shirtless smoker and one furry grey cat.
The Oasis kitchen operates separately from the downstairs restaurant and serves a limited menu of snacks and platters.
Wayne likes his wings "without sauce!" Can "without sauce" ever merit an exclamation mark? As I'm eating, I can't help but thing of Mordecai Richler, who described Gretzky as one of the most boring people he'd ever met.
The roasted pepper and coconut hummus ($7.99) is notable only for the absence of coconut and the presence of the occasional unpuréed chickpea.
Thai spring rolls ($8.99) are unremarkable, with mushy filling and Memories of Dufferin Mall dipping sauce. The Great One burger ($11.99) is disabled by a dried out patty, nearly raw bacon and a big stale onion bun.
While the sweet potato fries are good, they can't redeem this bland platter. Similarly lacklustre is the Oasis club salad ($9.99), which is heavy on the mayonnaise, its bacon and hard boiled egg minced into anonymity.
Dessert is limited to Häagen-Dazs ice cream and ice cream bars.
Service is indifferent: items are forgotten, prices and availability uncertain, half-finished plates cleared no questions asked. It's as if the backpacking trip to New Zealand can't begin soon enough.
Gretzky's Oasis isn't exactly a bargain, the service is too casual, the food is lame and they play some of the uncoolest music this side of Casey Kasem.
If contemplating a visit here, look to the Great One himself, who during his career recorded 1,963 assists - and pass.