The bigger the plate, the happier Phantom will be. These are the eight greatest spots he’s found for buffets and big portions, which will make you wish you wore elastic pants.
Cleveland Circle, Brighton
Kicking off the Great 8 is the infamous Eagles Deli in Brighton’s Cleveland Circle. The sprawling menu of burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches has so many variations on “supersize,” ordering becomes a feat in itself. But for a true challenge, try the Eagles Challenge – a five pound burger topped with 20 strips of bacon, 20 slices of cheese, 5 pounds of fries, a deli pickle and a fountain soda to wash it all down.
Another larger than life Great 8 winner is the Nordic Lodge in Charlestown, Rhode Island. This is the largest and most legendary buffet you can find outside of Las Vegas, featuring over 100 top-quality items from oysters to ice cream sundaes to Alaskan Crab and Angus steaks. But the biggest draw is the all-you-can-eat lobster. They serve up to 3,500 pounds of lobster a day, along with 150 pounds of melted butter.
“The lobsters are cooked in 60 pound baskets. We cook three baskets at a time. They’re boiled in sea water and then they are hoisted right up in an old fashioned block and tackle, put on the buffet, people walk by and they grab ’em.”
Buca di Beppo
Buca di Beppo in Shrewsbury takes abondanza to the next level. Pastas are served in bowls so big, you could practically dive right in: like the Spaghetti served with Meatballs that weigh half-a-pound each; Frutti di Mare loaded with just about the entire ocean; and lasagna that’s nine layers deep. If you can somehow make it to dessert, order the Colossal Brownie Sundae.
“Six scoops of ice cream, twelve brownie pieces. It’s topped with a ton of whipped cream, chocolate, caramel sauce, sprinkles, and a cherry. It’s pretty amazing.”
Cambridge & Saugus
The Midwest Grill in Cambridge and Saugus is the ultimate meat lover’s dream. It’s a belly-busting, all-you-can-eat, bottomless pit of Brazilian meat, and it could possibly be the biggest beef bargain in New England. To make sure everything is served hot and fresh, waiters circle the dining room with skewer after skewer of steak, chicken, sausage, and more. In addition to all that meat, there’s a massive salad bar, and a hot buffet where customers can help themselves.
Watch: Big Portions, Part 2
Carl’s Oxford Diner
Carl’s Oxford Diner, just south of Worcester, serves everything in one size: extra- large. From five-egg omelets to sides of bacon with ten slices, simply put, nobody on the planet makes a bigger breakfast. Some favorites include a double stacked Strawberry Waffle; a Steak and Cheese Omelet exploding with meat; thick cut ham that barely fits on the plate; and a glorious creation known as The Bacon Special.
“Ten strips of bacon, three eggs, and a mound of homefries. That’s one Bacon Special.”
Another Great 8 winner is The Causeway. This no frills, BYOB restaurant has been making waves in Gloucester for nearly a decade, with huge portions at low prices. The fish chowder is legendary. The Surf and Turf is a delicious duo of baked sirloin and shrimp casserole, for only $17. The Chicken Parmesan is an oversized classic, underpriced at fourteen bucks.
“I think the number one thing they are looking at is the value, and when they go to cut back, they can say it’s worth it over here ‘cause two of us can eat. So, we’re actually saving money. It’s basically a two-for-one price.”
Minado on Route Nine in Natick gives sushi lovers an all-you-can-eat dining destination. Inside the cavernous 360 seat dining room is a sensational seafood buffet, offering well over 100 items. There are hot entrees and appetizers, made-to-order Udon soups, a Hibachi grill, over 20 different salads, more than a dozen desserts, and of course, plenty of sushi.
Rounding off the Great 8 is Wright’s Farm in Harrisville, Rhode Island. Ordering at this family style poultry paradise couldn’t get any easier. Every table gets the same thing: all you can eat platters of roast chicken and sides, with a steak option for hard core carnivores. If you run out, just ask for seconds and they’ll bring it to you. If their generous portions aren’t enough, you can hit their candy store on the way out.
Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.
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