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We have been invited to...Cheesecake Factory

What's the word on Cheesecake Factory? The menu looks ginormous, which makes me a little leery right off the bat. Any rec's out there?

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  1. Many folks here dislike Cheesecake Factory and I have only eaten there once but I enjoyed my lunch. I had a salad that may have been called French Country Salad or something like that. The portions are very generous so I was glad I didn't order a sandwich or anything and the salad was absolutely plenty. It tasted good to me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: xena

      That is my fave thing at the CF. It is a smaller size salad with goat cheese, pecans, and beets. Really delish! I also like the Thai Lettuce Wraps.

    2. Just ate there for the first time last week. A bit pricey, but my salad was enourmous! I couldn't eat half of it. Very tasty, nice mix of greens..... The menu is big. Friends ordered desserts.... wow they were huge. I would recommend splitting one as they are expensive and so big. They were very good. Based on one experience and my friends comments on their meals.... would I go back? Maybe, but I wouldn't make it a destination. So I guess you could say an half way decent but a bit pricey. Though it might be a destination for dessert.

      1 Reply
      1. re: libgirl2

        I've been to two (in the DC area) and my guess is they are all basically alike. Way too big, way too noisy, way too way too. The food is mediocre at best, portions are obscene. And the cheesecake - fuggedaboutit. Really pathetic.

      2. I eat at the Cheesecake Factory every once in a while because it is convenient when shopping at the mall and a better alternative to the food court. That being said, the portions are huge and calorie filled. One dish that I stumbled upon is the chicken medallions in a balsamic marinade. They are served with mashed potatoes and veggies although you can substitute your side if you wish. It's not as giant a portion of some of their other menu items which is good for me as I get immediately full when I am presented with too much food.

        5 Replies
        1. re: baseballfan

          LOL you are my kindred spirirt. I like a salad they make, I think it is a South Western salad w/ chicken. Portions are crazy huge but the food is ok I make sure I go only when Dh is away on a business trip. This way I have lunch and dinner taken care of!

          1. re: SweetPea914

            Good idea! I bring the leftovers home and one of my 3 teenagers is sure to take care of them before they are leftover for very long.

            1. re: SweetPea914

              just a bit hi in price
              the food is good not great.... i don't think anyone would be dissapointed going there but it is not good enough to become a reg customer of

              1. re: foodperv

                I have to disagree with you there. My family wasn't merely disappointed - we were disgusted. The food was not mediocre. It was just plain bad. CF is primarily for people who think enormous portions automatically equal great food.

                My suggestion to the OP would be to try to counter-suggest a more acceptable dining option. Oh, say, like McDonald's, maybe?
                (Okay, the last was more than a little snide, but still. I would try to offer an alternative destination. If I couldn't, I might suddenly not be able to find a baby sitter or the like.)

              2. re: SweetPea914

                I once saw the Executive Chef on the TODAY show talking about how the test kitchen takes a food idea and Cheesecake-Factorycizes it. (I'm not making up that word.) From my point of view that means to enlarge the portion, sweeten dishes including those that should not be sweetened, and over-elaborate all dishes with two too many ingredients.

                Those arean't changes I value in food. However, I've eaten at Cheesecake Factory three times and if the circumstances required it, I'd eat there again. On each occasion, I've been with others, and I've been more interested in preserving harmony than in making a foodie statement.

                My most successful choice has been the Santa Fe Salad. Some of the salads, including that one, can be ordered as lunch-sized portions until 5:00 p.m. CF's lunch-sized salad is any normal restaurant's generous salad.

                I'd also order the Thai Lettuce Wraps again if I ever found myself at CF. However, this time, I'd ask for a bottle of soy sauce and vinegar rather than any of the sauces offered. Much too sweet.

                I've only eaten the cheesecake one. The first time I ate at CF, I was part of a group of six. We ordered two cheesecake slices among the group and still were unable to finish dessert.

            2. although I rarely go there, I actually love their Santa Fe salad. it had lettuce, carrots, black beans, corn, jack cheese and tortilla strips. it has warm grilled chicken, and a delish combination of dressings: one is a peanut vinegrette and the other has cilantro blended up in it. kinda spicy but sweet at the same time. my husband has had a crabcake sandwich there and liked it.

              1. I am one of the few who actually like CF. However, I only order one thing, the chicken piccata with an extra side of piccata. Comes with a huge side of angel hair pasta and I use the side of sauce for some of it. Previous to finding this dish, I had tried the Chicken Maderia, which is good, but I like the Piccata better. My husband likes the steak Diane and the lettuce wraps.

                If you get a salad, get the dressing on the side, so you can take home the left over salad without the dressing making it soggy.

                1. It's not bad, not great either, but some good things (imho) on the menu, I really like the thai lettuce wraps, mini sliders are good if you add cheese, I also really like the chicken farfalle , and for dessert ,look no farther than the Dulce de leche cheesecake.....obscenely good!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jword2001

                    I'd have to echo what everyone else has said - it's not trendsetting gourmet food, but it ain't terrible, either. I too am a huge fan of the Santa Fe chicken salad, and amusingly enough, my grandmother loves the sliders. They remind me of the little White Castle or Krystal burgers, but they're a little higher quality. The corn cakes appetizer is also pretty good, and plenty big enough to order as an entree.

                    Me, I'll pass on the cheesecake - I'm not a huge cheesecake fan anyway, and I've always found their desserts a little tasteless.

                    1. re: Suzy Q

                      I am forced to go to Cheesecake Factory a couple of times a year because my m-in-law loves the place, the only thing I order are ther sliders and I really enjoy them.

                  2. In my experience, get ready for a long wait, bad service, and large portions of truly mediocre food.

                    Other than the above I had a good time. ; )

                    1. I'll just stick to what's good...

                      Brown bread, IMO

                      Chicken Medallions in a Balsamic Reduction (comes w/ mashed potatoes, which I like, but more times than not ill sub out with steamed broccoli)

                      Vegetable Omelette (order w/ egg whites and light or no oil?)

                      Four Cheese Pasta (aka Heart Attack on a Plate) ... w/ extra ricotta on top

                      Most people also like the avocado eggrolls and sliders

                      Cheesecakes (Vanilla Bean, Oreo, White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle) or Linda's Fabulous Fudge Cake

                      1. CF has a version of everything. I recommend getting whatever you're craving or have not had a really good verion of (either ever or in recent memory). I usually get the chicken tortilla wraps -which are like enchiladas, and they come with a sweet corn cake, black beans, and rice.
                        I didn't like their deep fried sushi roll (should've known better I guess).
                        As for the cheesecakes, it's not NY style, but I like the banana cream, they give you a half of banana with it and they use real whip cream. Err on the side of less add-ins and you will probably get a nice slice of (cheese)cake.

                        1. I liked the chicken and dumplings.

                          1. Ah, the Chowhound haters strike again. You set yourself up on this one, chelley. Do a search and you will find several redundant threads bashings CF. For casual dining, it's a nice place. Get the bruschetta, chicken piccata (with mashed instead of pasta), and the soft pudding-like tiramisu. Then take home a jar of their blue cheese salad dressing (the best I've EVER had, rich with a lot of garlic) and eat it with saltines. Also, you must order a Peach Bellini there. OMG it's heaven on a warm summer evening.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Oh Robin

                              I kinda knew what I was in for...Im so used to it by now it doesn't even bother me. Unfortunately, we got booted from Cheesecake Factory to Bahama Breeze. Got good and liquored up, didn't love the food aside from the almond crust and lemon butter sauce on my others tilapia, did love the brown sugar crust on the key lime pie. Ehhh, I will still take Maggiannos any day. (GASP!)

                              1. re: chelleyd01

                                i will always love the huge portions at cheesecake imo the thai chicken pasta is the best. truely the only thing i have had there!

                                i find the lettuce wraps to be under-par. the service is meh, the wait sucks, but if your hungry go to the place that will truely fill you up.

                                with that said, no righteous chowhound would dare be caught dead in a cf, but i will admit to loving the thai pasta.

                                1. re: chelleyd01

                                  Yo, Chelley, too bad. You cudda had this salad. They serve it on one of those big oval plates that used to be pasta plates. Add one order of road kill sliders and one order of deep fried mac & cheese and you have enough for two people. Then you each order your own cheesecake! At Cheesecake Factory, a table can dine just fine on several appitizers. Check out thier menu.

                                  TOMATO MOZZARELLA SALAD
                                  A Classic with a New Twist. Ripe Tomato Layered with Fresh Mozzarella
                                  Topped with Blue Cheese, Red Onion, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil.
                                  Served with Fresh Greens

                              2. If they are in season the whole artichoke appetizer isn't bad.

                                1. The fresh artichoke app is good, as is the Vietnamese-style roll with dipping sauces (Imperial Roll?). For comfort food, the meat loaf is tasty.

                                  1. I agree with the long wait, bad service, and mediocre food-HOWEVER, don't ignore the obvious...get the cheesecake-2 servings! I assure you it is no more caloric or fattening than any of their other fare.

                                    1. I'm glad to read so many people sticking up for CF. Bottom line, I like it. Is it haute cuisine? No, but sometimes you just like stuff that tastes good. I'm always amazed that people think it's very cutting edge to state greasy mac and cheese is thier favorite comfort food but then rag on people for even mentioning a place like CF.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Spiritchaser

                                        it is Definitely the best in its class. not original or inspired, except for the cheesecake flavors. but much better than chili's!

                                        1. re: fara

                                          Exactly. So if this is what a person wants this is the place to get it.

                                      2. I'm not really a CF fan, but my daughter is and a couple of days ago she ordered something involving noodles with chicken and mushrooms, and I found myself "borrowing" from her plate (until she objected that she intended to take the remainder home for dinner that night). The portions are enormous, but take-home is expected and you can stretch something you like into two meals. I might be tempted to order an appetizer as my main if I find myself there again. We liked the spinach dip, and I was interested to see the sour cream served on the side (and a side of chopped tomatoes) instead of incorporated into the spinach.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Marsha

                                          So many people have had the same kinds of bad experiences at so many CFs. When there is solid evidence, is it hate? The implication is that we are just snobs and are judging the place just because it is a chain. Yet it sounds like everyone who has said something negative has actually been there, including me. I admit it, I hate noisy restaurants, and the two CFs I've been too - for lunch and dinner - are outrageously loud. I hate long waits and there are always long waits. As for the quality of the food, nothing I've had has been awful but nothing has been great, either. That's why I characterize it as mediocre. I don't see that as hate. I see it as my personal opinion. And as for the cheesecake, well, if the name of the place is Cheesecake Factory and you feature umpteen kinds of cheesecake, you ought to have really, really great cheesecake. Theirs is not great. Big servings yes, but just big servings of not great. Some chains are better. I don't hate all chains. Mon Ami Gabi can be quite good (though quite noisy) and you do have to time your visit carefully to avoid a long wait. But my overall view is that there are so many local, individually owned restaurants that are far more interesting and far better, and I'd really rather support those places - for my own enjoyment and to be sure they survive as long as possible. So it isn't a matter of chain hate or snobbery. For most of us, it is a question of how to get the best experience for your limited dining-out dollars.

                                        2. There are many haters. I used to work next door to the CF in Woodland Hills and because of the parking issues at that job was forced to eat there many times. I do think there are many good items on the menu though. My favs are the cobb salad (comes with a vinagerette instead of bleu cheese dressing. try it this way..so much better than expected. bleu cheese is on the actual salad itself) also I like the bistro shrimp pasta and the chicken piccata. The chicken medeira isn't bad either but sometimes the sauce is a bit too sweet for me. I haven't tried the Kobe burger yet but if I ordered it I'd get bleu cheese and carmelized onions on top. Their bar drinks are pretty good. This place is a bit pricey but their portions are huge! enjoy!

                                          1. I actually dont mind CF. I had one of their weight management salads (the asian chicken one) and it was still huge. Also LOVED the fresh guacamole they make. It is so yummy. And of course the cheesecake. Snickers all the way =]

                                            1. I don't know why so many people hate the CF. I for ne absolutely love it and it's my fave chain. I have never had a bad meal there and hey if they give you huge portions then just take leftovers home. Why complain? Just exercise some self control and you'll be fine. Some of the best dishes in my opinion are the skirt steak, Ranchhouse burger, Chicken Madeira, Cajun Chicken Littles, Cuban sandwich, pork chops, mac and cheese and mash potatoes are awesome sides. For the cheesecake you gotta go Godiva Chocolate, Chocolate Tuxedo, and Banana Cream!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: steakrules85

                                                Amen on that Godiva! I can usually stretch that baby out to three or four days it's so rich. Yum...

                                              2. I LOVE the Cheesecake Factory. It's not my all-time favorite restaurant, and the portions are inexcusably huge. I never eat more than half of what's on my plate, but it is great comfort food, kid-friendly, and I've never had bad service.

                                                1. Part of what I love about Cheesecake Factory is that the menu IS ginormous, and yet they seem to be good at everything! I even had a burger there once and it was amazing.

                                                  My favorite thing to get there though is the Crusted Chicken Romano. Delicious! Oh, and don't forget the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Chew on That

                                                    the best thing about CF are the appetizers! I personally like the fried mac and cheese balls a.k.a. heart attack on a plate! :-)

                                                    As far as CH foodies negative opinion on lots of chains, I just take it with a grain of salt. Love of food is a very personal experience. So, there is nothing wrong with the person who loves a chain over other places. I have friends who love the chains and always choose them, no matter how often I suggest other places. But, I find it is easier to either go with the flow and enjoy yourself, or quietly decline the invite without getting on a pedestal about it.