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Cheesecake Factory

m
Melly Apr 3, 2006 04:03 PM

Okay...I don't usually go to chains but our grown kids wanted to go. We live in Sacramento.

It was noisy! The kobe-style beef burger was excellent..very. The french fries were very bad..tough, not crispy, blah. The banana cream cheesecake was really banana cream pie..as was the key lime cheesecake. The fresh lemonade was good.

I still wouldn't go back.

Is there a decent chain restaurant out there?

  1. f
    fara Aug 14, 2006 11:53 PM

    Went to cf this weekend. Had: chicken "tortillas" and some kind of fried tempura roll with raw tuna in the middle. Also had raspberry white chocolate cheesecake.
    First bite was the tempura roll and I hit a tough stringy piece of tuna. There was a sweet mayo sauce on top that tasted like special sauce, overall kind of gross.
    The chicken "tortillas" were like enchiladas not rolled up. Very good, the tomatillo sauce was great, just the right amount of cheese, and the black beans were not authentic but were delicious. there was also a corn cake that was too sweet, made me wonder about the thread on sweeter produce.

    the cheesecake was somehow addictive and gross at the same time.
    overall i would say order savory food there.

    1. TexasToast Aug 11, 2006 11:15 AM

      There was a time I probably thought that CF was pretty good. It's really not. I mean, for take-out cheesecake, it's not bad, but the food just doesn't do it for me.

      And, the clientele at my local (NW HWY, across from NorthPark mall, Dallas) has changed significantly over the last 4 or 5 years. Still, the place remains as busy as ever--hopefully will for many years to come. That way, there'll always be more tables at REAL restaurants for CHders! At least, that's how I look at it.

      TT

      1. j
        Jefferson Aug 11, 2006 06:14 AM

        For what it's worth, if forced to eat at Cheesecake Factory, I like to order the "French Country Salad" and add on a protein: either sliced grilled chicken breast (+$3; often too dry) or grilled salmon (+$7) (almost always available in Palo Alto, not sure about elsewhere).

        My favorite chain restaurant salad was the "Bandera Salad" at Bandera in Los Altos (long closed and replaced with the Los Altos Grill).'twas a big mound of greens, shot through with corn freshly cut off the cob, with good sized chunks of warm rotisserie chicken nestled strategically under the leaves. I should try to make that some day.

        1. m
          melly Aug 3, 2006 05:31 PM

          Ate at CPK...I had a decent chicken ceasar there and it wasn't as noisy as CF.

          1. v
            veggielover Aug 1, 2006 02:35 AM

            What about Legal Seafood, now that they have branches up and down the east coast? I love their spicy fried calamari, and their grilled calamari salad,the seafood gumbo, shrimp wontons, the fried fish is a guilty pleasure, and they do a good job with grilled fish.

            1. c
              calabasas_trafalgar Jul 29, 2006 05:52 AM

              I love the southwest chicken salad at CF. What I hate is the wait.

              1. a
                AquaW Jul 28, 2006 10:54 PM

                This is a fairly good chain (though, being a seafood lover, my fave would be McCormick Schmicks) -- I love the tamale app (which doubles as an entree for me) and of course, the cheesecake that I love but can never quite finish.

                A few grievances though:

                1) Do their menu HAVE to be 10+ pages long? I myself don't mind so much.... but when I dine with indecisive friends (which are most of them), it absolutely takes forever to get an order in!! Of course, I understand the point is that there'd be "something for everyone" but apparently it only makes my dining party choice-crippled and resort to dozens of coin flips.

                2) The too-big sizes . . . it's definitely a pretty good value, but I'm one who usually likes to try several dishes at once (and often would order 2 appetizers instead of one entree), but even the starters here are gianormous. Oh yea, and the whole "America is becoming obese" problem. (Of course, there's always the doggie bagging it home ~ but it's incredibly annoying for me just to have to take back a small portion that'll definitely taste not-as-good after being nuked)

                3) The acoustics of the dining area -- noises bounce a lot, everyone have to practically scream to be heard! And heaven forbid a wailing baby ever sit ANYWHERE in the restaurant.

                Again, I'll disclaim that I do like CF, but if only they can address these few peeves, I'd be that much more happier (and make that many more return trips.)

                and Melly: to address your question, the closest similar chain that'd be comparatively quieter would be CPK (also near the Arden Fair Mall), but of course, that's pizza-only and not much in the way of desserts. Hope the California Board will be more helpful on that...

                1. rabidog Jul 28, 2006 10:25 PM

                  i've tried, and i just am not a fan of the cheesecake factory. routinely a 3-hr wait at the white flint location in maryland. it was where my coworkers ALWAYS wanted to go when i used to live there.

                  as far as chains go, give me a bertucci's any day. the margherita pizza is still delicious, but sadly as this chain grows i've seen the service, decor and many other menu items turn to, well, for lack of a better word, crap.

                  actually for some reason i was just reminded of PF chang's lemon-pepper shrimp. probably an insult to chinese restaurants everywhere, but man was that shrimp tasty.

                  1. r
                    rolypoly Apr 5, 2006 12:22 AM

                    i'm traveling in PA for work and had all my dinners planned, but nothing ever goes according to plan. by the time i was ready for dinner, all the restaurants i wanted to go to were closed. i drove by a cheesecake factory and decided to go in. i ordered the seared tuna tataki salad and a roasted tomato soup. to my surprise, it was all very good. i sat at the bar and it wasn't loud at all.

                    1. m
                      meb903 Apr 4, 2006 01:37 PM

                      i had lunch at the cheesecake factory yesterday - had the chinese chicken salad which husband and i split. cheesecake factory has its place. as long as you are not going for haute cuisine, what's wrong with it. you get good value. it's not as if you are paying $35 for an entree - so it's a little noisy! somethings are better than others, but most of the salads are great. i think cheesecake factory gets a bad rap on this board.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: meb903
                        t
                        theannerska Jul 29, 2006 02:14 AM

                        The chinese chicken salad is my favorite one on the menu...

                      2. g
                        gloriousfood Apr 4, 2006 01:06 PM

                        I enjoy the restaurant whenever I go--chain or no chain. My problem is that the one we frequent is usually very dark, so dark that it can be difficult to read the menu. We've asked management to provide more light one time but to no avail. Noisewise, I've never had a problem (this is the one in that huge mall in Rockland).

                        1. l
                          Loren3 Apr 4, 2006 11:23 AM

                          I understand the fixed vs. variable cost pricing model that compels these chains to serve obscenely huge portions of food, but what is it about their business model that requires them to be obscenely loud as well? They are all DEAFENING!

                          Thanks. I feel better, now.

                          1. j
                            JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester) Apr 4, 2006 01:10 AM

                            For chains, one of my favorites is Texas Roadhouse. I could really do without the excessive volume in there, but the steak and ribs there are fantastic.

                            Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)
                              j
                              jackie Apr 4, 2006 10:24 AM

                              I love the ribs at Texas Roadhouse as well, but then we love the fall off the bone type, which you either love or hate. Love their salad and smashed pot. and gravy as well. Like you, we hate the noise and loud music, but do go there when we want ribs that we know are always good.

                            2. b
                              boogiebaby Apr 3, 2006 07:55 PM

                              I love the french fries at Cheesecake Factory. Get a side of their garlicky ranch dressing and I'm in heaven!

                              Hubby and I like their tex mex eggrolls --it's one of the best appetizers I've had at a chain.

                              I also like their Thai Steak Noodle Salad (cold noodles, steak, cilantro, mango vinagrette, shredded carrots and cashews) and the Chicken Avocado Sandwich. I also like the Endive Blue cheese Pecan salad when I'm in the mood for something light.

                              For dinner, I love their Chicken Madeira. It's their most popular item. It's 2 sauteed chicken breasts topped asparagus spears and melted mozzarella and finished with a mushroom madeira sauce. Smashed potatoes on the side. I always ask for extra madeira sauce so I can spoon it over the potatoes.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: boogiebaby
                                n
                                nooodles Apr 3, 2006 08:42 PM

                                I do too! My tactic when my friends make me go (in SF) is to order a plate of fries for $3 and one of their huge alcoholic beverages. Really takes the edge off being annoyed to be inside TCF. For food, the salads are fine, as are the avocado egg rolls.

                                1. re: nooodles
                                  w
                                  well Apr 5, 2006 05:19 PM

                                  honestly, for the amount of food you get for the price you cannot complain. you can always get 2 meals out of it. also, you should appreciate it for what it is.. it is a place people go with a group of friends or family. the variety in its menu lends itself to pleasing varied tastes and the extensive dessert menu lends itself towards birthday, etc celebrations for friends and co-workers.

                                  1. re: well
                                    r
                                    rednails Aug 7, 2006 10:47 PM

                                    This is the exact reason I like TCF. Variety in menu for large groups that won't all want the same type of food. I went there last year for my son's high school graduation (with his best friend and his family), a group of about 20 pp. It was perfect. The service is almost always very good, the portions are huge and quality is usually very good as well. It's not cutting edge cuisine, not "chow-ish" by any stretch of the imagination but that's not their purpose. They do what they do very well.

                                  2. re: nooodles
                                    w
                                    well Apr 5, 2006 05:19 PM

                                    honestly, for the amount of food you get for the price you cannot complain. you can always get 2 meals out of it. also, you should appreciate it for what it is.. it is a place people go with a group of friends or family. the variety in its menu lends itself to pleasing varied tastes and the extensive dessert menu lends itself towards birthday, etc celebrations for friends and co-workers.

                                  3. re: boogiebaby
                                    m
                                    MV Apr 5, 2006 03:55 PM

                                    I had to go for a business lunch and found the thai steak salad to be mediocre at best. I wasnt expecting real thai flavours but the food was very bland and the individual ingredients did not seem fresh.

                                  4. j
                                    JBC Apr 3, 2006 07:27 PM

                                    Ruth's Chris Steak House might be the USA's most successful restaurant chain foodwise, not financial. Of course they are also one of the most expensive chains around.

                                    1. e
                                      Emme Apr 3, 2006 05:24 PM

                                      I think the reality is that every chain has foods that are acceptable and doable for reasonable prices.

                                      I "like" CPK salads, Chili's and El Torito fajitas, Daily Grill meatloaf, Houston's burger, Islands tortilla soup, fries, and some of the sandwiches, Calif. Chicken Cafe salads, Ruth's Chris lobster and sides, Koo Koo Roo mac'n'cheese, Zankou Chicken, and my bf would throw in a vote for Tony Roma's ribs.

                                      1. d
                                        Deenso Apr 3, 2006 04:39 PM

                                        Houston's is the only chain I know of that really doesn't feel like one. We've visited them in Scottsdale, Hackensack and NYC. The food is consistently good and the service is usually efficient and friendly. (Don't know about the others, but the one at the Citicorp Center in NY can be a madhouse - with a noise level in the bar that verges on deafening - on Thursday evenings, right after work.)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Deenso
                                          Michele4466 Jul 28, 2006 11:03 PM

                                          I also like Houston's and love their veggie burger. It is one of the best veggie burgers I have had and I have had quite a few. Additionally, my hubby works near the one on Park Avenue South and he and the boys go for lunch there. They love the burgers and the french dip, among other menu items. That being said, I agree with the poster below that chain restaurants are good for what they are and you decide which ones fits with your needs and which do not.

                                        2. t
                                          taxchic Apr 3, 2006 04:08 PM

                                          I don't mind it every once in a while. Love the sweet corn tamales...an arepa style appetizer.

                                          The salads are good.

                                          Hey, its a chain. you can't expect much, but it is okay in a pinch.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: taxchic
                                            l
                                            LizR Apr 3, 2006 05:21 PM

                                            I'll agree that the salads are good, esp the "caesar" with chicken, which is not really caesar but is still good. Huge portions, even at lunch. What I completely do not get is the hour+ wait times at lunch. It is not THAT good and it is a chain, afterall. People here seem to just love it, though. Granted, the location I am referring to is located in suburbian/mall hell, so there are not a lot of other viable choices.

                                            1. re: taxchic
                                              Michele4466 Jul 28, 2006 10:59 PM

                                              I am not embarrassed to say that I LOVE the corm tamale appetizer at CF! As a matter of fact, I made my husband take me there last weekend (I am pregnant and HAD to have them). The rest of the food was pretty good... chain restaurant pretty good. Service was terrific and I also brought home the banana cream cheesecake and it was great! Blame it on the pregnancy but I loved these two items before I got pregnant and I have only been to CF a handful of times. Lived in LA for years (was taken there in BH) and now that I moved to Montvale from the city, we just discovered one ten minutes from us... My hubby is in trouble for another four months! LOL

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