NIAGARA FALLS – Overdose Cafe, one of downtown’s newest attractions, is the place that begs the question, “If more is better, is a lot more a lot better?”
In terms of size, we are talking dishes of gastronomical proportions, if you know what I mean.
A 2-foot-long hot dog? Are you kidding me? And it’s not all about length, either; the girth was equally impressive.
Let’s face it, one meal here takes care of your caloric needs for the next two days, easy. It would be sinful to even think about eating again within 24 hours.
But it is not all about size. While the Overdose is in a class by itself when it comes to portion proportions, can it hold its own in the taste department?
The quick answer: yes and no. It depends. In a couple of visits recently, we found some of the menu items to be hit or miss.
To wit: The aforementioned hot dog ($12.95) is a custom-made Wardynski product, served inside a mammoth, homemade, buttered, grilled bun.
The carb count alone has got to be in the mid-four-figure range; I don’t even want to fathom the fat figures.
But if you are so inclined, it is a challenge worth tackling.
My daughter couldn’t get through half the bun, but when she pushed it aside and concentrated on the dog itself, she found the eating to be pretty good. “It’s not Sahlen’s,” she said in a nod to her ultimate grilled fantasy, “but it’s pretty good.”
And the cellphone-photo potential is unmatched, obviously.
It was more of the same for the burgers, which include the full-pound Gourmandasizer, the half-pound Monstrosity and the quarter-pound Mondo. Not wanting to tempt the food gods, I opted for the Mondo, which is served with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions, all atop one of those homemade buns.
I’m not quite sure whether it was the burger itself, or the bun, but something had a bit of a weird taste – along the lines of a dill seasoning. It wasn’t overpowering, but it was noticeable, and it seemed out of place – to me, at least. When I mentioned it to Meagan, she nodded in agreement. We couldn’t quite put our fingers on it, and it wasn’t our favorite, but it didn’t ruin the meal, either.The sides were here and there, as well. Meagan called the sweet potato fries “the best ever.” They were thick yet crispy (a combination difficult to come by in these parts) and were coated with a batter that really set them apart. Drizzled with honey, they were oh, so good!
The macaroni and cheese seemed to have that same seasoning taste to it, but it wasn’t bad; the greens seemed overcooked to me, kind of limp and lifeless. Even so, the flavor was OK.
My fried chicken ($7.50 on special) was nice – a big, thick breast coated with a nicely seasoned batter that was very tasty. Given the nature of the portions, I was kind of expecting more than one piece, but the piece I got was plenty to fill me up. A nice, safe choice, especially if you’re leery of the huge portions of some of the other dishes.
Previously, we had sampled the breakfast menu (heading to the “Chump’s Corner,” as the 14-inch “over-the-plate” pancakes just seemed indulgently excessive). The “Wuss Special” consisted of two slices of French toast, two eggs and two sausages, with home fries. The French toast was thick and heavy, well-made, and the home fries were OK but nothing special. The rest was typical breakfast fare.
Situated on Main Street in the former “Sinatra’s” and more recently “Mary-O’s,” the Overdose is a bit of a throwback, with its long counter and diner-style booths. The walls are adorned with photos of Main Street going way back, including a pic from what looks like the ’60s of a former boss engaged in a “battle of the bands.”
“Dick Lucinski and the Loved Ones,” it read. I was thinking, this is the kind of place Dick would probably like.
You have to love the mission of owners Dustin and Mila Douglas – offering a family-based place and not wanting anyone to leave hungry. The price is good for what you get in return, and they offer discounts to service men and women of all stripes. Makes you want to give it a shot – whether you like big food or not.