OK...So, it was the Cheesecake Factory....
that had the better meal.
I understand that Cheesecake is NOT among the chowhound favorites but, let me tell you of my little story...
Last night I was at a fancy wedding at the Nixon Library. Dinner consisted of the typical salad, rolls chicken and filet. I had only chicken; breast w/ a lemon butter caper sauce. UGH!!! What a waste of 100K! Went to the Grove today. Had Hors D'Ouveres at the farm (cookies) while waiting for our table at Cheesecake. Then, I ordered chicken and biscuits. Something I've never done b-4. WOW! Yum - 3 meals and only 14.95! Glad it wasn't my 100K spent last night!
Tell me folks....What's the bad thing about Cheesecake??? B-cuz it's a chain, or is it the crowds?? Please educate me. I have never had a bad meal there and it's always so reasonable. I love this place. Maybe I'm not a "hip" hounder?? :/ KQ
WOW - Interesting chain of responses. I am from the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles) and this is the birth place of the C.F. In the 70's my mother used to buy cheescakes from a couple selling them out of a small factory building in Woodland Hills. Amazing what one can do with a few cheescakes! Eh? I personally don't care for cheesecake however, I will enduldge once a year in their Pumpkin cheesecake with the pecan bottom! Maybe quality or service changes with the location?? In Los Angeles and especially the one in Palm Desert, it's always good with really large portions. Yes, there's often a wait, but come on folks... so are hospital emergency rooms! Be creative bring an IPOD :)KQ
I suppose I'm not enough of a hardcore hounder either because I think CF is good. I've *never* eaten something I didn't like there. I think the variety is part of what makes it so appealing.
The wait is excruciating. When it's one hour + as is sometimes is around me, it's not worth it.
And I even think the cheesecake is good.
....don't kill me...
I am fairly jaded regarding CF, because I went to it when it first opened as a chain. The menu was not a novel, the cheesecakes were made on site and the service was top notch.
Now, I can't bring myself to enter a CF because the food is such a former shadow of itself, including the frozen cheesecakes shipped from the central commissary. The wait at the Phoenix Biltmore location is ridiculous, with up to hour long waits at 10 PM on a weekend.
While I am sure that CF speaks to a certain demographic, I am somewhat perplexed as to why anyone in a large metro area would go to a chain with mediocre food and long waits when there are plenty of other options to be had that are far better, in the same price range, and with a far superior product.
in regards to Cheesecake Factory, I have gone once, and that will be my last time. I went to the location @ Oakbrook, IL.
Terrible service, and the food was even worse..Waited 20 mins for a server to approach me at the bar, and another 10 mins for my drink.. Once @ the table the waitress didnt even approach us for 15 mins, saying " I thought you guys were the previous table that hadnt left..."
Cheesecake Factory = hype
remember folks quantity rarely equals quality..
I've gone to CF many times maybe once a month....never waited more than 45 minutes and that was on a Friday night at 7pm the Waikiki location for an outside table (inside wait was 15-20 minutes). Generally waiting for a table is 15 minutes or less, but I usually go on weekend afternoons at various locations (mainly in SoCal).
As far as the menu, I really haven't had a terrible meal there. Most of it has been consistent......
Kobe Burger and Factory Burger is good
Bang Bang chicken and shrimp- tried for the first time, pretty good...weird to have that thai curry in a dish at the CF.
Calamari has usually been pretty good.
I like the Chicken Madera and other items on the menu.
I haven't had the Cheesecake there in 10+ years.
I mean compared to other chains like Bucca Di Beppo, Maggianos, TGI Mc Funster's, Chili's, Applebees, Macaroni grill, etc etc etc....it absolutely blows them out of the water. Sure, compared to some local bistro or restaurant that charges $30+ per plate...its probably not as good (in many instances) but the prices are low and the food isn't as bad as people make it out to be.
I think its the whole concept of a chain, the food not being unique, etc.
Nothing wrong with the Cheesecake Factory.
The wait is terrible.
But the food, while not stellar, is predictable and consistent. It's also a pretty good bargain, e.g. good prices for the enormous amount of food you get.
Plus, it's a place where you can go with a large group of eclectic people and satisfy everyone's craving -- be it pizza, burgers, Italian, faux Chinese, mexican, etc. So it's a good middle ground.
Service is always friendly and professional.
Amongst the chains, I'd say Cheesecake Factory and Houstons probably come in 1 and 1A.
As I have said before, we enjoy the Cheesecake Factory. We never wait as we go in off times. I don't care what chain you go to, CF, Olive Garden etc, you will wait and wait and wait if you go on a weekend prime time. So many complain about CF's wait time, but its like that no matter what big chain you go to. You should see Texas Roadhouse here on a Sunday after 4:00pm.
Remember, not to start a chain vs. chow-worth debate, but mediocrity is in the eye of the beholder. Where I live there are not many "chow" worth places, mostly chains. I do not feel like driving an hour across town. Some chains are decent and not even close to dinty moore stew, which I am sure some people like. LOL
I've been only a few times, but I've always had good food. I've never really had to wait either, but we may have gone at off peak times or something. I do, however, think the cheesecake sucks like no other... that is not cheesecake!! But the rest of the food I've had has been pretty good... I do hate that the menu is so huge too though; I'm not a good decision maker!
I hate the wait.
I hate the wait.
I hate the wait.
I visit once a year and always order the Thai Lettuce Wraps, which is a generally safe bet.
I will tell a little story about stellar service we received at CF in Coconut Grove. We were there as a family of three - kidlet was just 1yo. We went at dinner time, which is an adventure with a baby because they are like Sybil - happy one minute, maniacal the next. As soon as we were seated, the hostess brought us a plate with a sliced banana, bread, and crackers for kidlet. Totally unexpected and most appreciated.
So while I prefer to eat at just about anywhere else in town, the CF in Coconut Grove will always have a place in my heart. The one SMALL act of a hostess made our dinner a pleasant experience.
If you love it, more power to you. Shout it from the rooftops. Cheesecake Factory to me is a place best left to everyone else. The ridiculous wait is one of the things; if I'm going to wait three hours the food had better be absolutely euphoria inducing. The food all tastes focus-grouped; I remember getting the orange chicken the first time I ever went, I took a bite and immediately thought "This used to taste better". And then there's their namesake item, the cheesecake. It's at least seven bucks a slice. At seven bucks for a single slice of cheesecake from a casual restaurant, it should leave me rolling on the floor in a fit of ecstasy. It's merely decent cheesecake. I've had better from Trader Joe's.