Cheesecake Factory in Buffalo
I know this is the Toronto/Ontario board, but I can't seem to find any other board to cover Buffalo NY, and I assume half the people eating at popular Buffalo spots on weekends are Ontarians.
Anyway, I was in Buffalo last Saturday, and almost ate at cheesecake factory (newly opened in Walden Galleria) -I've eaten there in Florida a number of times, and despite it being a chain, I've found every dish I've had to be very good. When I say I "almost" ate there, I arrived 5:50 pm sat night, and there was already a 2.5-3 hour wait! (and my kids wouldn't wait)
Anyone try this location yet? If so, does it compare well to their other locations? Am I the only one here who LOVES this place? (I get the feeling a lot of chowhounders turn their noses up at it) No place could be that bad and still have such long lineups consistantly. When I've gone to various locations in Florida, especially on weekends/christmastime, 2-3 hour waits seem to be normal!
I haven't been to the Buffalo one but have been to one that's outside of Boston. I could find any fault with the food (especially for a chain) though it certainly wasn't a fantastic experience. My biggest complaint, other than the inexplicably long wait time, are the huge food portions though that's a problem with many American restaurants. You wonder why American's are so fat, the HUGE food portions! 3/4 of a dish there is more than enough.
I went to one in Denver, after hearing about how amazing it was from everyone (it seemed).
No wait - we went at an off peak time.
Maybe it's what you order. I had the artichoke appetizer and the chopped salad. The chopped salad was really bad, as in ingredients that were a bit off and a seriously weird, unpleasant mix. The artichoke was just okay.
My husband had the french toast. It was okay and SUPER huge.
perhaps there are better dishes to have there?
I haven't been to the Buffalo one, but I did go to a Cheesecake Factory in Los Angeles. I ordered a steak Diane dish, with green beans on the side (wanting to get some veggies as the steak diane didn't come with any greens). Long story short - I thought they were making fun of me! I was looking for the hidden camera! What human could possibly ingest this massive quantity of food? This thing could have comfortably fed a family of four! I don't think I even touched the mountain of mashed potatoes that came with the steak medallions.
My conclusion: Other than the portion, the meal was unremarkable. A part of the appeal must be the "perceived value" that the Cheesecake Factory portions provide. I also think the name is hilarious - who could possibly pound back a cheesecake slice after the gluttony of the main course?
My mom and I went to the Cheesecake Factory's Buffalo location on Boxing Day. We didn't have to wait because we went to the restaurant at 10pm, after working up an appetite from a full day's shopping. I was looking forward to sampling their food, particularly the desserts because I heard such good things about them from my various American ex-coworkers.
I didn't know how large the portions were so we ordered two appetizers and two mains. The appetizers were OK, wild mushroom soup which had a hint of truffle oil. The second appetizer were the tamales. There were three tamales sprinkled with chopped tomatoes, avocados and sour cream. The soup was a bit salty but the tamales were quite tasty. I believe my mom and I were already full when we finished eating the first 'course'.
When the mains came, all we could say was 'Wow, how are we going to eat that?'. We ordered the cajun shrimp pasta with a rose sauce. But when the dish came, the sauce was not tomatoe/cream but a heavy, rich cream sauce. After tasting it , we decided to pack it to go. The sauce was too oily and honestly not very flavourful. My mom and I decided to tackle the pulled pork sandwich instead. Besides a large sandwich, there was a mountain of fries and coleslaw on the platter. The fries were soggy and the pork was not 'pulled' but rather in chunks. The meat was on the dry side and if not for the sweet BBQ sauce, the sandwich was quite bland.
Needless to say, I was not able to order dessert. But from what I saw our neighbouring table's desserts...I don't think I would be able to consume a six inch cake slab (the size made it look more like a slab than a slice) even on an empty stomach.
I will go back to the Cheesecake Factory because I shop at Walden Galleria regularly. The menu is quite extensive. Perhaps next time, I will just have an appetizer and share the slab of cake! :)
I am in the Buffalo area but have only been to the one on Long Island. The wait at the one on LI was about an hour but what I have heard about the one in Buffalo is that the waits are MUCH longer (2-3 hours is the norm). BUT you have to remember this is very new to the area and the long waits will probably normalize to the 1-2 (or less) hour range once the "newness" of it wears off.
I have only had salad and cheesecake there and found both to be generous portions of decent (not great) food.
I ate at the Washington DC location a couple of years ago. I ordered some thai-style dish, which I hate to say was kind of yummy. Not in any authentic way, mind you. Plus it was so big I ate the leftovers for two meals.
My biggest issue with the place, besides the fact that it is a chain (and I usually try to support local businesses) is the massive portion sizes. They are REDICULOUS. The food I had was tasty, and based soley on that, I did enjoy it. But as a matter of principal, I stay away.
Another chain with this problem is Maggianos. Sheesh!
I like the Cheesecake Factory. I almost never order the cheesecake (or any other dessert), just because I wind up pretty full from the entrees. I like the fruity iced tea, the firecracker salmon rolls are delicious, I love the sweet corn tamale cakes, they have a New Orleans shrimp dish that is to die for, the salads are excellent... heck, I like most of what I've ordered there. And I know food; I've eaten at plenty of unusual ethnic places, and many of the finest restaurants in the country. I'm not claiming it's "fine dining", but I know what I like, and I like a lot of what the Cheesecake Factory has to offer.
If the portions are too big for you, eat what you like, and take the rest home. (It's also worth noting that they have smaller-size portions of their pastas and salads at lunchtime, in addition to the dinner-size portions.)