Nothing says Sunday funday like a little morning procrastination and a whole lot of guilty pleasures. That's why we love Pier W's brunch buffet ($38). It's hard to walk away from this brunch behemoth, where more than 50 dishes are available during a six-hour window every Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Executive chef Regan Reik helps us navigate such a feast without getting in over your head.
1. Fresh Start
"Start with things that are light and sort of entice you," says Reik, who utilizes the central bar as a kaleidoscope of greens such as a Peruvian broccoli salad alongside a raw bar with oysters, Gulf shrimp and cocktail sauce. "It's meant to kind of sweep you from right to left all around that rounded bar."
2. Breakfast Basics
The classics are here: scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon and sausage. But if you make a beeline for this area, watch your portions. "For anyone who wants to get the most out of their enjoyment, try and graze," says Reik. "There's a lot more beyond [the basics], and you don't want to miss it."
3. Main Entrees
Your more savory items — grilled chicken with a soy udon glaze, roasted salmon and a classic bouillabaisse — are kept in front. "No matter what trip I am making, I pair something that's a little heavier with something a little lighter," he says. "You are able to enjoy more instead of trying all the entrees at once."
4. Slice Above
"For some people, the carving station is the focal point," says Reik. A chef, armed with a cutting knife, is stationed over prime sirloin and a chaffer with eggs Benedict. "Some people want us to take that beef on the carving station and cook it more or they want a cut from the certain area of the prime rib."
5. Palate Cleanser
The two islands in the middle of the floor have sushi and fruit slices alongside small Danishes to act as breakers between full plates. "Something that has a crisp and light flavor is a palate cleanser," says Reik. "[It] prepares your taste buds to enjoy something like chocolate or bread pudding."
6. Sweet Deal
Creme brulee, bread pudding, cheesecakes, mini cannolis, pies, cookies, brownies and more are part of an endless array of sweets to satiate what's left of your appetite. "They're all made to be bite-sized," says Reik. "By the time you get there, you've probably tried between 15 and 20 other things."
All You Can Eat
Three other buffets we love.
100th Bomb Group
Why we love it: An extra kid-sized buffet of options such as chicken fingers and fries make this spot a family favorite. Must-try: Go for the grilled lamb chop. "We cut them individually and do them with a little dollop of dark mustard," says executive chef Phil Tagliaferro. Custom fit: More than 15 toppings make the made-to-order omelets a hit. $28.95-$33.95, Sun. 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 20920 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, 216-267-1010, 100thbgrestaurant.com
Cuisine of India Restaurant and Bar
Why we love it: The impressive rotating menu boasts more than 30 selections. Must-try: Look for the butter chicken in a creamy tomato-onion sauce. "It's a very traditional dish in Mughlai cuisine," says owner and chef Abhay Shah. Champs champ: Upgrade your Champagne with house-made juices such as kumquat and strawberry. $13.99, Sat. & Sun. noon-3:45 p.m., 6857 W. 130th St., Parma Heights, 440-842-5907, cuisineofindia.net
The Spread Buffet
Why we love it: The Horseshoe Casino spot includes a friendly server who's at your beck and call. Must-try: The pork belly is wet-aged for 21 days. "When you do pork belly for 800 people, that's pretty impressive," says executive chef Edward Michalski. Sweet tooth: Try the French toast casserole with orange marmalade glaze and pecans. $21.99, Sun. 8 a.m.-2 p.m., 100 Public Square, Cleveland, 216-297-4777, caesars.com/horseshoe-cleveland/restaurants