Sometimes you just get the craving for a greasy burger and fries. That craving led us to the somewhat divey Oasis Lounge recently. The Oasis has been around for quite a while, located on Maple just west of West St. Anyone in the know will tell you that Oasis is known for their burgers. In fact, according to several internet posts the Oasis was named one of the top 10 burger places in the US by USA Today in 1989. So for all of you USA Today back issue aficionados, get into your attic and start digging for the 1989 box. The big question is does the burger still hold up after 20+ years?
I enjoy doing my homework before trying out a new place. My reconnaissance usually consists of trolling various restaurant websites like yelp.com and tripadvisor. After gathering my intel I was prepared for a grimy, dimly lit dive bar with a clientele ready to pounce on unsuspecting outsiders. To compensate for the presumed atmosphere we strode confidently into the Oasis , making sure not to make much eye contact with the barmaids, lest they discover our charade. Quickly enough I realized that we had nothing to fear. The front door was wide open allowing warm sunlight into this shrine of ground beefiness. And they even had flat screen TVs (Although I believe they were the first model of flat screen ever made by Vizio)! The bar itself is fairly large with several pool tables and the token Keno game in the corner. The crowd seemed rather tame, despite the regular pounding back rum and cokes at 1pm on a Saturday that kept giving me a rather unsober eye.
Their menu contained no surprises, just your typical bar food, except for the fried cauliflower. All three of us decided on what every freedom loving carnivore would, the cheeseburger and fries. Much to my surprise the Oasis even had seasonal beers on tap. Yes you couldn’t get PBR on tap, but Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest was available. I think something like that automatically gets your dive bar status revoked. After a few minutes of building anticipation our meat disks were served to us. I was immediately impressed with the girth of my burger remarking, “There is a good inch and a half [of meat] between the buns”. Although the bun was not the best, the thick patty and melted cheese made up for its short comings. While it is not the best burger I have had, it certainly is a good option for the price. For $6 dollars you got a 1/3 lb burger and fries, which is a solid value in this day and age. Speaking of fries, they were a disappointment. Although hand cut and thick, they were undercooked and lacked much crispness. I’m hoping it was just an off batch, because it really doesn’t take much to make a good fry.
So as it turns out the Oasis is not a sketchy place, in fact its a decent little hang out that happens to serve good burgers. When I go back I will probably skip the fries and maybe substitute another of their fried creations, hoping they turn out better. The next time you get a craving for a good greasy burger why not take a break from Freddy’s and Five Guys and try the Oasis.