Friday, April 15, 2011

Review: The Cheesecake Factory

Earlier this week was my mother-in-law's birthday (Happy Birthday, Mother-in-Law!) and to celebrate we met her for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. TheHusband and I had never been there before, but we've been wanting to try it and TheMother-in-Law likes it so it gave us a great reason to go (Thanks for having a birthday Mother-in-Law).

I had a doctor's appointment shortly before noon that day and it didn't last as long as we thought it might so we got to the restaurant about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Even though it was 12:45 (still during what I would consider lunch time rush) we were able to be seated right away. The place was busy, but not overly so. I also liked that customers were spread out enough so we didn't have to hear the conversations of other tables (even though that can be fun at times).

Let me tell you we were so GLAD to have gotten to the restaurant early. Their menu options are quite expansive and all of them sound delicious! (Except the ones with mushrooms, but that's just because I have a personal grudge against mushrooms. I'm sure if you like mushrooms you would find that those dishes sounded delicious.) Since TheHusband and I were Cheesecake Factory newbies, our fabulous waitress (she really was) advised us to first decide what type of food (pasta, sandwich, burger, pizza, etc) we wanted, then focus on that section of the menu. She also warned us that the portion sizes were quite generous, but that most entrees came in a "lunch" portion (which were also generous). Here's what we had:

TheMother-in-Law: Because they didn't have the creamy potato soup she wanted (the location we were at only serves it on Wednesdays) she decided on the Warm Crab & Artichoke dip (from the "Small Plates & Snacks" section). She thought it was delicious and wished only that they had brought a bit more bread with it. For dessert, she kept it simple and had the classic Original Cheesecake. The waitress had overheard us telling her happy birthday earlier and delivered her slice of cheesecake on a specially decorated plate and with a birthday candle. (No embarrassing singing was included, much to the happiness of everyone at our table.)

TheHusband: Garlic Noodles with Chicken was just the thing for TheHusband. While he was mildly disappointed that the chicken wasn't a grilled chicken breast (I think it was a baked thigh, I'm not 100% on that though since his dish also had mushrooms so I didn't get too close) he rather enjoyed this VERY generous meal (our waitress wasn't kidding and TheHusband had to leave 1/3 to 1/2 of the noodles so he would have room for dessert). In fact, he even liked the asparagus so the chef gets a big two thumbs up from me on that! For dessert he chose the Oreo Cookie cheesecake, which was delicious and rich (yes, I had a bite to check it out).

Me: I opted for a safe (for me selection) and had the Fried Shrimp meal (which doesn't appear to be on the online menu). This meal comes with 8-10 large butterflied fried shrimp served on a mountain of French fries and a generous portion of coleslaw. I wasn't a fan of the coleslaw because I like coleslaw cold and this seemed only slightly cool, but it didn't matter because I wouldn't have had room for it anyway. The shrimp was perfectly fried and was delicious with both the cocktail and tartar sauces. I opted for the Wild Blueberry White Chocolate cheesecake for dessert and couldn't have been happier. It was the perfect end to a delightful meal.

Pricing originally seemed a little on the highish side, but based on the portion sizes it was completely reasonable (I think). We'll definitely go again, TheHusband and I, and we'll be sure to remember to order the lunch portions and split a piece of cheesecake. OR maybe we'll just get cheesecake. Mmmm, cheesecake *sigh*. This restaurant goes on the "too recommend" list.

Oh, I almost forgot, just as we were leaving the tables, chairs, and umbrellas were being dropped off for the patio area. I love that the restaurants are prepping for outside dining. YAY!!!
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