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Phantom Gourmet: Chama Grill In North Andover

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NORTH ANDOVER – Talk about Food Fantasy… what if you combined an all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue, and hearty, home-style Italian fare. That’s the one-of-a-kind combination you’ll find at the Chama Grill.

Located in North Andover, this energetic eatery has a big bustling dining room with high ceilings, live music, and an even livelier staff of servers circulating the room serving both Brazilian style Rodizio and classic Italian fare. So whether you want steaks slow cooked on a spit or big bowls of pasta, General Manager Justin Walworth and his team have you covered.

“We took the ideas of Brazilian Barbecue and then traditional Italian cuisine, kind of combined them both together. It’s really just a little bit of everything for everyone.”

The Brazilian Rodizio menu offers a multitude of meats delivered by skewer-armed servers.

“When the chefs come to the table they like to have fun with the guests. The whole interaction is even more so what people are looking for,” Walworth said.

It all comes out of a giant oven located in their busy open kitchen that customers love to look in on.

“Everybody stops and just kind of stares- how could you not? They love being able to see all those meats.”

For those unfamiliar with Brazilian Rodizio, Walworth explains how it works. “We cook all of the meat in our rotisserie machine, bring it over to the table one by one and feed them until they’re full. Then with the sides that come along with it, we bring a little platter with everything on it. And you just let us know what you need filled as you go along.”

Bottomless sides include bananas basted in cinnamon, polenta cakes dusted with parmesan, a zippy pico de gallo, salad, and rice - all served on a large plate perfect for sharing.

“We bring you out a big platter for everyone to share, sort of family style. It initiates conversation. It makes for much more fun of an atmosphere. The sides are there because you want something to change up your palate, but the focus is meat.”

With over a dozen cuts of all-you-can eat meats to choose from, there’s something for everyone. From tender steaks sliced tableside to spicy pork sausage, brandy basted chicken drum sticks, and juicy filet mignon wrapped in bacon.

“Filet mignon is good enough on its own, but when you add bacon to anything, it just makes it that much better. Plus it also tends to hold the temperature and the juices inside as well once that bacon crisps up around the edge,” Walworth explained, adding, “It’s to die for.”

If meat is not your thing, you may want to order off the Italian side of this menu. There are mussels sautéed in a white wine garlic broth and Cajun style haddock topped with roasted corn and Andouille sausage. The Fruitti di Mare is overloaded with shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels and salmon all served in a clay pot to keep it warm.

“What that pot does it actually helps keep it steaming hot because it’s is such big dish you want to make sure that last bite is just as warm as the first one.”

The Chicken Parm at Chama Grill in North Andover. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The Chicken Parm at Chama Grill in North Andover. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

For something truly heart-warming, try Chama Grill’s Chicken Parm, which gets a little help from an unlikely ingredient.

“Chicken parm is chicken parm, but in order to stand out we use Goldfish crackers,” Walworth revealed. “Cheddar goldfish get mixed in with the breadcrumbs to coat the chicken and give it that extra flavor.”

Since the kitchen at Chama is overloaded with a bounty of beef, you can be sure the Bolognese is extra hearty.

“You’re definitely not going to find a Bolognese anywhere like ours. The Rodizio meats that we use, at the end of each night that little bit that’s left over, we chop that up and turn it into the Bolognese for the next day. So it’s not your Mom and Pop Bolognese, even if they did use veal in it. We have filet in there; there’s sirloin; there’s rib eye. It’s a deep savory sauce.”

For a completely different sauce experience, the jalapeno mango served on the shrimp salad, comes in sorbet form.

“The sorbet is set to the side, so as the dish is there at the table the sorbet melts, becoming almost like a second dressing. And the shrimp themselves are actually cooked in the sorbet so you get a little bit of heat as well.”

No matter how much you may have gorged, it’s hard to resist the dessert tray.

“They could be sitting there clutching their stomachs after eating the Rodizio, but you show them the tray and they go, ‘Oh yeah, I’d love a piece of chocolate cake.”

Since the Rodizio runs around $32, you can get your fill without emptying your wallet.

You can find Chama Grill at 115 Main Street in North Andover, or online at chamagrill.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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