The fried chicken sandwich is a Wishbone lunch highlight.


10542 Jasper Avenue

Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (1 a.m. Fridays)
Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Closed Sunday
(Reservations at

Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $25; loaded, $70

Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns
Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns
Service – 4 of 5 Suns

Not that there was any fatal flaw, but two visits to the downtown Wishbone Restaurant and Oyster Bar left me disappointed.

Open since July of last year, Wishbone is the downtown incarnation of the South-Side’s Three Boars on 109 St. south of the High Level Bridge, with the same ownership and same partner/executive chef Brayden Kozak.

Three Boars was one of the first chef-owned bistros in town. When opened in 2013 it was a wildly inventive place. Chef Kozak would take whatever came through the kitchen door from his suppliers and change his menu on a near-daily basis. I will never forget a Three Boars’ tartare made with ground beef heart. It was … different.

So, I was thinking, Wishbone would be equally innovative.

And it is not.

Wishbone is a pleasant-enough restaurant and cocktail bar, centrally located on Jasper Avenue between 105 and 106 streets, with an outdoor mezzanine entrance up a flight of stairs.

The interior design is quite unique – airy, curved walls covered in horizontal wood strip panelling. The blond wood, mixed with discreet lighting, potted plants, and a modern bar/open kitchen at the back, creates a pleasing, soothing environment.

The lunch and dinner menus are two very different animals – but both reflect a toning down of chef Kozak’s former walk on the wild side.  

Lunch is highly conventional – chicken sandwich, hamburgers, soup, lobster roll, one veggie, fries and two soups.

Dinner is composed of snacks, snacks and more snacks … some 20 small-plate choices, including oysters, ranging from $4.50 to $17.

They sound inviting – Kozak likes to play with Japanese flavours and seasonings.

But, in three of four dishes ordered at dinner, there was just too much going on.  The flavours in the okonomiyaki (Japanese-style pancake – shrimp, cabbage, onion, kewpie, nori, bonito, “bulldog” sauce) had mushed together into one indistinguishable mass.

The pork croquette sounded interesting – described with mustard cream, saskatoons, chicharron (fried pork rind) and endive.  What arrived tasted like a fairly standard cole slaw made with shredded endive, piled on top of two nondescript deep-fried croquettes with a standard pulled-pork concoction inside.

Likewise, the mushroom toast promised a variety of earthy flavours – mornay, crimini with a “cured” egg yolk. It tasted about the same as my Sunday morning Safeway mushrooms on toast topped with egg.

The lobster roll had not an ounce of Kozak style – just a piece of (tender) lobster with mayo and regular slaw piled inside a brioche bun. Yawn.

A rather standard lobster roll from Wishbone.

The highlight of two visits was the lunchtime fried chicken sandwich – the crispy chicken was hot and tender and it worked beautifully with a hot sauce, semi-melted blue cheese and a lovely mayo – a gribiche – made with hard-boiled egg yolk.  The lunch-time soup, however, arrived lukewarm and was on the bland side, especially for a curry. While generous in portion, it was dwarfed within a cavernous bowl.

I’m sure Wishbone has more to offer than what I and my dinner companions chose – the restaurant has a loyal clientele.  But I get the impression chef Kozak is coasting on his laurels.  The Wishbone menu is already in need of revitalization.

About these “small plates”: They refreshingly arrived on the scene about six years ago, pioneered by chef Nathin Bye then at the Wildflower Grill. Today more and more trendy restaurants are going exclusively to snacks/small plates. It’s starting to look more like cost-saving than innovation – charging $10 to $17 for a few bites of food, winding up with a bill for two at over $70 for food alone, and  not fully feeding the customer.


I find Where Edmonton Magazine’s annual best new restaurants report to be among the most credible in the city.

Picked by the publication’s editorial team, the choices aren’t swayed by massive public voting (where family and friends send in thousands of votes), and appear free of advertiser influence. Nobody can disagree with Where’s top three new restaurants of 2017 — Biera, Butternut Tree and Bundok.  All earned top ratings in this column.  Likewise the neighbourly OTTO sausage house as best new casual, La Boule Bakery as best new bakery and the Parkallen for best new menu were equally deserving.