My husband and I had a rare, but very much anticipated DATE the other night. I told him that we just HAD to eat at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner because, since it opened in November of 05, I had only heard people tell me what an amazing and wonderful place it was. When The Cheesecake Factory opened just before Christmas last year in the Washington Square Mall, people were literally waiting 3 hours to get a table, or so I heard. Of course, this kind of dedication to restaurant meal added to my assumption that The Cheesecake Factory was truly an amazing place to eat.
Luckily, our wait was only 20 minutes, but that was on a Monday night at 6:30, so it's a good thing we didn't try and eat there on a weekend!
The first thing that I noticed about this restaurant was their 2 pound menu. OK, I exaggerate. It's not 2 pounds, but it's probably around 16 pages long. There are probably close to 100 things you can choose for dinner. This includes salads, appetizers, soups, pastas, burgers, Asian inspired dishes, Mexican inspired dishes, sandwiches, steaks, fish and seafood, eggs and omelettes and pizzas. It was, to say the least, completely overwhelming.
Our waitress, who'd worked there for nearly the year it had been open, said she'd eaten everything on the menu and could guide us through our selection making process. It seemed like I was going to have to work too hard for my meal, and that's not what I look for in a restaurant. I struggled to flip through the menu quickly as our waitress instructed us to "turn to page 13" for if you want a great steak, or "on page 9 is our most popular meal, the soup, salad and sandwich." She was very friendly and helpful, but still, I felt confused, which is not how I wanted to feel on this special night away from the kids.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is fun and lively. However, because of the cavernous, high-ceilinged, open dining room, I felt a little more like I was in the dining hall of a cafeteria, rather than a nice restaurant. It was noisier than a sporting event!
The meal came quickly, and as I expected, was a HUGE portion. Even though I only ate half of it, I did not have room for dessert. I realize that probably the one thing I should try at The Cheesecake Factory before attempting to review The Cheesecake Factory is...THE CHEESECAKE, but neither I, nor my husband felt like eating cheesecake after our meal. However, I will mention that they offer 34 different cheesecake selections, many of which seem decadent and delicious. They also offer an amazing 11 non-cheesecake selections.
I am glad I checked out The Cheesecake Factory because I will know next time to just get a piece of cheesecake to go instead of trying to eat a meal there.