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Cheesecake Factory..I am being forced to go

What should I get?

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  1. My daughters love this place. (I swear I raised them right - don't know what happened). I generally order the spicy Ahi tuna roll (appetizer) and an iced green tea. That plus a slice or two of the pumpernickel bread is plenty. Generally the tuna has been fresh and pretty edible plus you don't have to look at 4 pounds of food placed in front of you :)

    1. Understand your concern. Their pad thai is ok but will easily serve 6

      1. we like their salads - chinese chicken salad & bbq ranch chicken salad. we just met friends there the other night - i had the sausage & chicken gumbo, which was pretty good, but needed salt - the server said this was new to the menu.

        5 Replies
        1. re: meb903

          the bistro shrimp pasta is very good, but very filling.

          1. re: lrbarbie

            Ditto on the bistro shrimp pasta.

            My favorite actually is the shrimp & bacon club, HOWEVER, get the special sauce and the garlic mayo on the side b/c they load on both of them and that gets gross. I get it with mashed potatoes instead of french fries.

            Bang Bang Chicken & Shrimp is great too, but can feed 6. They also have a great, rich shepherd's pie.

          2. re: meb903

            The Southwestern chicken salad is very good, and HUGE. Get a lunch or half order if you can.

            1. re: lil mikey

              my favourite!

              i ordered the lunch portion and had to ask the server if she brought the right one... it was HUGE.


              1. re: wontonfm

                LOL, I think that's the salad I got as well, the last time I was (dragged, kinda) there a couple years ago, and I, too, asked if that was really the half order. It was. Even the server agreed it was funny and related the one time that she was on a double shift and hadn't gotten a chance to eat, something like that. She said that was the one time she finished, or got close to finishing, a full size salad. I've been to plenty of other places that have half and full orders of entree salads. CF's half order of this thing was larger than the full order at anywhere else I've ever gotten one. Really.

                The salad wasn't bad, but as you can see, it's the huge size of everything that sticks in your head. ;-)

          3. Dont get the fish tacos.

            Bland, messy, and overpriced if I recall correctly.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jonny509

              I actually ordered the fish tacos once, and the waitress told me they get many complaints that they are bland. So I changed my order. I think I got a seared tuna salad with a wasabi vinaigrette. It was pretty basic (I think other than the tuna and lettuce there's tomato and avocado?), but it was pretty good, if you are ok with seared tuna. I actually have no complaint with Cheesecake Factory food - there's definitely something for everyone. If the portions are huge you can always box it up, or just leave it. I think another time we went and we were able to get lunch-sized portions of many things because we ordered just before 5pm. I would check this out though.

            2. You can't go wrong w/ any of their salads; I esp. love the bbq ranch chicken salad. I always get their lemonade; they dip the rim of the glass in sugar and it just has a really good flavor (not sure they make it themselves or not). The crab cake sandwich is very good, too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mdepsmom

                Yes, the lemonade and strawberry lemonade are top-notch.

                I loved their goulash, but it may have been discontinued. Barbecue chicken sandwich is surprisingly good, pasta jambalaya is huge but quite good, and the guacamole-filled eggrolls (forget the exact name) make a delicious appetizer. I don't mind their fish tacos either... definitely better than the ones at Baja Burrito Kitchen (another chain).

              2. Being "forced to go" to the Cheesecake Factory isn't quite in the same league as being waterboarded. I'm confident that you'll have an enjoyable meal - perhaps not "fine" dining but a competently prepared one.

                1. when I get dragged there I get the seared tuna on top of salad. I think it's tataki. It's nowhere near as good as the same type of fish at a japanese restaurant, but I don't feel like I ate a bowling ball afterward.

                  then the rest of the table looks at me as if I have 3 heads when I don't want to split one of their sorry desserts. I sip coffee while they inhale that crap.

                  1. shrimp scampi, fire roasted artichoke, thai lettuce wraps, (I think that's what they are called), the salad with boston lettuce, blue cheese and bacon- also sometime I like the buffalo chicken blasts, if not cooked properly, they are heavy, and they won't be good. For drinks, their dirty martini is really good they use blue cheese stuffed olives.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: michele cindy

                      I went to their location in Boulder for lunch and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, the presentation, the portions, the service and the beauty of the place! I had some sort of Glazed Tuna and one of their awesome desserts -it was really DELICIOUS and FUN! They pay attention to their food quality for sure! Who knew?

                    2. I live in NYC, but love stopping by Cheesecake Factory whenever I get out of the city. It's not Per Se, but it's not bad, either, at least for the things I order over and over again. I'm a fan of the avocado eggrolls, tex mex eggrolls, and for entrees I really only get from among the BBQ ranch salad, Santa Fe salad or tostada salad.

                      1. I've always thought the burgers were good, but like everything else, a lot of food. The salads as mentioned by a few are always fresh and crisp. I had a friend that always got the meatloaf, but I don't see it on the menu. Perhaps it has been changed out.

                        Do check out the menu before you go, it will make your decision making much faster than trying to sort through a multi-page menu when your friends are all ready to order.


                        In spite of many comments I have heard here, I think the food is more than decent. No, it is not "gourmet", yes it is mass market food. But it's a long way from "bad".

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          And please let us know what you (and your friends?) got, and what your opinion was.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            i have been there a few times, and also enjoyed the burgers. The fries were good, and the portion was reasonable.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              For lunch, I'd always take advantage of the meatloaf deal. A fan of the mashed potatoes, to be sure.

                            2. Just went the other day, the first time in about 10 years. I used to love it! We split appetizers during their cheap happy hour. I fell in LOVE with their tempura ahi roll, hold the white sauce. Everything else was beyond bad. One nibble of the fried mac and cheese turned me off from everything else. Frankly repulsive!

                              We also ordered the chicken potstickers and quesadillas. The quesadillas were sent back because they do not have true salsa, only pico. Didn't try the dumplings, everyone said they were fine and straight from a freezer bag.

                              I used to love their salads, especially the asian chicken.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Kam7185

                                I got thai lettuce wraps & they were good except 2 of the dipping sauces were way too sweet for my taste. The whole experience wasn't too bad-what is with the serving sizes though! No wonder there is an obesity crisis in this country...

                                1. re: Teraesa22

                                  Thanks for reporting back!! I remember liking the peanut sauce more, specifically because the others were really sweet. I should have mentioned it before, but you can substitute the chicken, for shrimp, it's a bit more $$$, but I liked it better that way.

                              2. I like the crusted chicken romano or even the burgers! Pretty much anything there is decent and tolerable for the night. I like the place!

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: Chew on That

                                  I like it too. I went this past Sunday and had the lunch portioned Da Vinci pasta and i thought it was amazing and just the right size. The dish consists of chicken and mushrooms and onions in a slightly creamy madeira wine sauce.

                                  1. re: lrbarbie

                                    I don't know why Cheesecake Factor gets such a bad wrap for being a chain. It's not gourmet food but it's pretty decent (atleast at the locations I've been at).

                                    Goulash is good
                                    Thai Chicken Pasta...excellent if they put enough sauce

                                    1. re: BellaDonna

                                      I think it gets a bad rap because no matter how "decent" it's still soulless mass-produced food that's been developed from study of trends and focus groups and homogenized to American tastes: too sweet, too creamy, too cheesy, oversauced, supersized, etc. That's not to say that it can't be palatable. And in fact, being an American, I sometimes enjoy too sweet, too creamy, too cheesy, oversauced, supersized food.

                                      What I don't get about The Cheesecake Factory is the people who will wait for hours to get in or go there for special occasions. It's not particularly cheap, either, unless you want to take most of your oversized meal home and get more meals out of it.

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        get the meatloaf, it is hidden on the menu, possibly under favorites or meat dishes. the salads are good, but there is way to much lettuce and far to little chicken. Stay away from the fries but the onion straws are good. The lemonade is excellent.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          They stand in line because they know what they are going to get, that they will get a lot of it, because they have succumbed to the marketing, and because that is what they think food is supposed to taste like. For special events, it is a whole lot less expensive than a "fine dining" restaurant, and the menu is varied enough that all those friends and family members with their myriad food preferences and restrictions can each find something they can eat.

                                          Don't get me wrong, I will happily go to CF, it's quite palatable, as you said. I've never had a bad meal there. But you also are not going to get a spectacular meal. If more people were interested in spectacular meals, moreover had the exposure and experience to appreciate them, Chowhound would have 100 times the number of regular posters it does now.

                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            the lettuce wraps are very good, as is the meat loaf. The food here is better than what I've eaten in most home kitchens. Don't quite know why it gets slammed so much here.

                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                              I like the ambiance of the one here in Austin, a lot actually ... however, the servings are too large and the food a bit salty. The staff is ridiculously pretentious. I also think that the menu is far to extensive to expect too much.

                                              I have not been disappointed by what I have been served but I don't have any expectation that CF is anything other than what it is... a lovely place with an extensive menu that is usually acceptable for a casual meal.

                                              1. re: Rene

                                                The one thing about CF is that the menu is so huge that everyone in your group should be able to find something to eat. I've had too many instances of picking a restaurant for a girlfriends' night out, only to have one of more GFs complain they can't find something they like.
                                                If I go to CF, I usually get the seared tuna salad. It's never disappointed. I don't eat all the greens, but I do eat all that tuna :-)

                                                1. re: Rene

                                                  Correction - pretentious on my most recent dining visit.

                                                  1. re: Rene

                                                    Cheesecake Factory, is what it is -- a decent mall restaurant. I don't get why people turn their nose up at it. It falls into the same general category as P.F. Chang's, Maggianos and CPK. You know what to expect and it's all basically competent. I've never considered it as an alternative to a finer dining experience, but it hardly merits the drama of the original post where "being forced to go" is somehow horrifying or stress-inducing.

                                                    1. re: ferret

                                                      True - but when I decide to go out for dinner I want a unique experience and not usually the atmosphere of a chain restaurant.

                                                      However, sometimes living in Toronto where there aren't any CF the unique experience I crave is suburban mall - then I will sign-up for a CF excursion, and will enjoy it.


                                                      1. re: wontonfm

                                                        Given the option I'd go with a local place I've never tried over chains every time, but, as stated, I don't approach a CF or CPK experience with trepidation and to suggest it's a cringe-worthy experience is overly dramatic.

                                                        The wife and I were running errands yesterday and wanted a quick bite so we stopped into Portillo's -- a local chain in Chicago. It's several rungs down from Cheesecake Factory, but we were more than satisfied. Not every meal has to be a Michelin-worthy experience. Sometimes really good onion rings fill the bill.

                                    2. Stick with just cheesecake, I can't stand the place. I my in-laws insist we go there, and then demand we split everything. Portions are huge and to me they are so overpriced! I would not pay to eat there. Ever The only thing I ever ordered as I do not share..LOL Was the spinach artichoke dip. It was watery, not very tasty. Had better and make better.
                                      Cheesecake all of them are excellent though. Will give a A+ for that. Should be it is there name.
                                      Go somewhere else then stop by there for dessert to go.

                                      1. I've eaten at CF many times over the years, and can't understand why the drama over going there. They do what they do...quite well, IMHO. You won't get, as someone else said, a Michelin star-worthy kind of meal, but it isn't Friday's either, which I think is much lower on the food chain (no pun intended). I ate at Fridays last week, on the spur of the moment, and it wasn't worth the money spent.

                                        I was given a $50.00 gift card for CF about a month ago, and used it yesterday when my son was home for the weekend. We went to the one in Palo Alto, which is NOT in a mall, but on a busy street with lots of other dining options. It was lunchtime, and the restaurant was fairly empty when we came in, but much busier when we left. I had the BBQ Ranch salad, and my son had the Cuban sandwich. Both were quite tasty and I appreciated the server steering me away from my first choice, an Asian Salad (from their weight management section) that she said wasn't very good. We shared a piece of chocolate mousse cheesecake, and with tax and tip, used the whole gift card (OK, I overtipped slightly to use up the card--who needs one with a $2 balance on it?) Service was excellent, as always, and I would have no problem going back should the occasion arise.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: rednails

                                          To each his/her own I guess, we all have opinion's. What got me on your post was how the server steering you away from your first choice saying it wasn't very good. (a weight mang section) To me and only my opinion, when a server stears you away from any dish on there menu (unless for allergy issues) Is a BIG red flag for me.
                                          It tells me that that is only one thing that they are telling you isn't so good. hmm alway's makes me think when they do that.
                                          And could swear someone said on here that it was good? could be wrong could have been another post.
                                          Anyway when the staff tells you not to order something..... Bye Bye to CF lol

                                          But I do live right around the corner from one and when I can afford and want to indulge, I do stop in for a 6.00 piece of Cheesecake to go.
                                          I have stated in other posts today, that living off RT 1 this is a CHAIN HEAVEN! but I also see them come and go as quick as they came. This CF happens to be in a mall (I live between 2 in Woodbride/Edison NJ) is next to a Norstroms Dept Store and a Barnes and Nobles (sp?) which is high end Dept store I can not shop at not a rich women. lol

                                          So those who can afford it and like it enjoy. again to each his own

                                          1. re: Rae2

                                            I told the server I couldn't decide between the BBQ salad and the Asian salad...if she had said the Asian salad was good, and I didn't like it, I would have been royally p***d off. I appreciated her honesty. She said the regular Chinese Chicken salad was better, but of course not healthier b/c of the fried noodles.

                                            CF is almost 12 miles away, but again, I had a gift card so there we went. University Ave in Palo Alto is quite a nice area, so I don't mind going there. There's also a CF a few blocks from my office in San Franciso, but have never gone to that one. If someone suggested CF, and was hell-bent on going there, I wouldn't say no. I've never been disappointed, but do keep in mind what kind of place it is. There are much, much worse chains around, that I truly avoid.

                                        2. Forgot to say in last post they have a sweepstake going on. I do enter as If I won. Geez I would be in cheesecake heaven!
                                          Here is the link if you want to enter. Sweet Deal if you win!


                                          You can enter ONCE a day, till over
                                          This link takes you right there to enter and there is a instant game to do after you enter your e-mail (hit start then stop to get 3 in a row to win) Nothing for me yet.. Good Luck!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Rae2

                                            how clever, all you have to do is enter your e-mail address....

                                          2. I for one love the CF and have tried many of the dishes on the menu. Here are some of my favorites....

                                            App- Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes, Avocado Egg Rolls

                                            BBQ Beef Ribs
                                            Chicken and Biscuits
                                            Ranch House Burger
                                            Kobe Burger
                                            Cajun Ribeye
                                            Grilled Skirt Steak
                                            Cajun Chicken Littles
                                            Pulled Pork Sandwich
                                            Factory Burrito Grande
                                            Cuban Sandwich

                                            Sides - Mac n cheese is awesome, mashed potatoes, onion strings, spinach.

                                            Desserts- Chocolate Tuxedo, Godiva, White Chocolate Macadamia, White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Brownie Sundae Cheesecake, Strawberry Shortcake, Banana Cream, Dulce De Leche.

                                            1. The salads are great. I love the BBQ chicken chopped. I used to always get the factory burrito too( saved half for another day). Its huge.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Calipoutine

                                                I went yesterday. Their organic field greens salad with house dressing is so delicious. I had it with a chicken salad sandwich, also good. What I no longer like at CF is that the whipped cream they serve along with their desserts is no longer REAL cream. It tastes like a bad version of Reddiwip with chemicals and more air. I LOVE real fresh whipped cream and they had it two months ago. Actually, I only eat the cream and save the cheesecake for my daughter! Now I won't bother ordering it. I also don't understand why they serve milk with their coffee. It only turns the coffee gray and cools it. No flavor there. I've written them about both these items. If they don't use an authentic whipped cream and either half and half or light cream for coffee, then it's not somewhere to go for "coffee and dessert," which we've done often.

                                                1. re: NJFoodie

                                                  I went to the one for lunch and was pleasantly surprised. I ordered the lunch salad and pizza. The pizza was huge and delicious and easily split between two people or over two meals for one. The salad was large, crisp and fresh with a nice balsamic dressing.

                                                  1. re: NJFoodie

                                                    I went while I was in California last week and I had the BBQ chicken salad that I enjoy so much. It was the lunch portion and was very fresh and tasty.

                                                    1. re: NJFoodie

                                                      The Cheesecake Factory chicken salad is absolutely delicious. The salad with blue cheese crumbles and pear slices was also amazing.

                                                      There was one appetizer with an asian sweet soy dipping sauce that was so good.

                                                      We loved the strawberry shortcake. I cannot understand why they would stop using real whipping cream.

                                                  2. I think the Santa Fe Salad and Jambalaya Pasta (sub rice instead of pasta) are pretty good there. I also enjoy their sandwiches and pizzas. The food there in general isn't gourmet, but its simple and satisfying in my opinion.

                                                    Has anyone ever tried their sliders?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jaypeezy

                                                      My son did and I grabbed one. They were delicious and perfectly cooked.

                                                    2. Well for starters ... it is not unreasonable to split any entres or deserts. They are gargantuan! Most I have tried would be a feed for three.

                                                      1. No CF near me. Went shopping at Roosevelt Field, LI and there was one nearby. I had the Cobb salad lunch portion, it was huge, and delicious!

                                                        1. We've eaten there often since a friend took me there. We aren't near any CF so it is a treat to go there. I used to get the cheesecake to go (can't eat any size meal AND dessert) but then my husband discovered their strawberries and whipped cream. Now we get that and skip the Cheesecake altogether. The strawberries are the freshest and with the whipped cream it is like having a strawberry pie or cheesecake dessert. I also love either the eggplant or portabella mushroom sandwiches. And no, I am not a vegggetarian, I just enjoy vegetables and need to lose calories and add health whenever possible. I love cheesecake and wish I lived closer to one. But it is nice to have something to reserve for special occasions.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Pryscilla8

                                                            Sorry but their veggie sandwiches are niether healthy or lower calorie....

                                                          2. I like the avocado eggrolls, but then again, I really like avocado.

                                                            Quite honestly, the actual food there is pretty good, and I've never really disliked anything I've had. The big problem with Cheesecake Factory is that it's often a crazy zoo. I once waited three and a half hours -- no joke-- to get in with family: three hours walking around the mall with an alert buzzer, and then another half hour in the "to be seated" line once it buzzed us in. (It's my mom's favorite restaurant, or used to be, if you're wondering why I waited that long)

                                                            1. Went for the first time this past Sunday around 8 or 9pm. My first vibe was "Wow this is chaotic" lol. But we had a gift card to use and I wanted one last fattening, carby meal to kick off my diet (does anyone else do this?).

                                                              I was immediately overwhelmed by the menu- it's superrrrrr long. We decided on the crab wontons as an appetizer. These were pretty good! The free bread is nothing to write home about. I chose the "Incredible Edible Eggplant Sandwich". It wasn't bad at all, but I should've chosen differently because I hate ordering something I could easily make at home. I felt a little rushed by the server though! My boyfriend got the hibachi steak, which he seemed to enjoy. I tried the tempura asparagus that it came with and it was goood. Oh, and we got a piece of cherry cheesecake to go. It wasn't the best cheesecake I've had but the topping and the whipped cream they served with it were great.

                                                              Overall, I definitely wouldn't return on my own dime, which is how I feel about most chains (I do however enjoy Red Robin for some reason lol).

                                                              1. try the Classic Hamburger with side salad with house dressing. surprisingly the burger is beefy and charred tasty. the side salad are spring greens mix.

                                                                1. The last time I was there they were sold out of 2 apps I wanted to try, one was a mini fried chili rellano (I guess it might be like a popper, but sounded much better), the other a tempura shrimp dish with a spicy sweet mayo drizzle. We always get the fire roasted artichoke heart, I like their nachos, the lettuce wraps are ok, and their angel hair shrimp scampi dinner is a favorite of ours.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: michele cindy

                                                                    I went there recently for the first time in a few years. The chill relleno app is delightful. The cheese inside is creamy and just oozes out when you cut it. The chill itself had a nice, mild heat. It was the best thing I ordered.