There was a time at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one when I spent my time on the Drive divided between Waazubee and Fet’s. In each one, I would spend many hours watching, writing, reading, just enjoying the flow of the people. I could spend so much time there because in both restaurants I enjoyed the atmosphere, enjoyed the staff, knew the owners, and enjoyed the food. I was a genuine regular in both, and I always like that feeling.
We enjoyed WaaZuBee so much that back in the day we had our wedding reception there, in the raised area at the back. Waazubee was edgy, played industrial trance all day, and was a fun hangout. However, when we moved from around 1st avenue to this end of the Drive, Waazubee became a little less convenient and we went less. We used to still frequent WaaZuBee for Saturday brunch but, if truth be told, it has been a couple of years or more since I was last there. Until today, when we decided to go for lunch.
Nothing really has changed, environmentally or gastronomically, except it all seems softer and somehow older. The decor is the same — the old Portuguese dance hall murals looking tattier than I remember — but the featured artwork was weak. The old carpet was lifted years ago and I’m sure that nothing else has changed physically since the late 1990s. The music seemed soft and deliberately unobtrusive, and unfortunately the food was equally forgettable.
I had the Huevos Rancheros. I guess I had no reason to expect a chile-based dish, but the sad mild mushiness of fried eggs on baked beans (notwithstanding the tortilla between) was an unplesant shock. There was nothing wrong with it — I finished it down to the bare plate — but it wasn’t anything sparkling as I had hoped. My best gal had the Waazubwich chicken, a favourite of hers for many years. She had the feeling the chicken wasn’t quite right and asked me to try it. So I got to taste another entirely bland concoction, different from mine but just as unexciting.
Anyone can have a bad day, and maybe this was theirs. But it was all so depressing. Especially when compared to Fet’s, which has changed both physically and in its menus over time without losing the essence of what it always was. It is a real shame because I really like Benny and the folks at WaaZuBee, but I’m not sure I’ll be back, at least for a while.