Friday, April 18, 2008

The Cheesecake Factory

Went out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory for a pal's birthday dinner at the suggestion of his girlfriend. Place was PACKED. Must mean the food's good right? Right?

Tonight I was reminded yet again how bad TCF is. Our party was quite large (15), and our server (bless her heart) managed the best she could. But, service was slow. TCF at Fashion Valley (as well as the Brea Mall & Irvine Spectrum for that matter) operates far beyond their optimum serving capacity. Every table around us waited a ridiculous amount of time for our food to be served and drinks to be refilled. Don't even get me started on the horrible food...

I can usually forgive slow service if the food ends up being good. After all, when with good company, time just flies. But, I cannot forgive TCF's joke of a menu. Aside from the fact that ad placement in the menus hinders my browsing more-so than web pop-ups, how can so many dishes be listed as specialties? Doesn't make sense to me. If you specialize in something, you usually lock down your craft to just a handful of well made, well presented, quality products. TCF's little marketing scheme pretty much encourages diners to order any of the overpriced crap that's on their menu. Wonder why their website's menu doesn't list prices? It's because if you checked it beforehand, you'd realize that this joint is such a ripoff. I ain't a cheapass. I don't mind paying a premium for good food, but you from TCF isn't good. Friends sitting adjacent to me were very dissatisfied with their bland orders as well. These guys aren't exactly picky eaters either.

Really now...I can't believe TCF has the gall to list the Jambalaya both as a "diners' favorite dish" AND a TCF "specialty". I guess diners love the small pathetic $17 mess of greasy noodles and dry flavorless meat. I guess they also especially love the burnt tomatoes and shrimp. Give me the same ingredients and I can make a far better pasta. You could too. So could my dog.

Dessert was kind of amusing. For seven to eight dollars you can buy a small sliver of cheesecake as well as the pint of whipped cream lopped onto the plate in order to give the illusion of volume and value. Please. Consumers aren't that stupid.

Or are they? Why the hell would people wait in a long ass line to get a table at this atrocious restaurant? Guess they never came across Kirk's mmm-yoso, Cpt. Jack's reviews, Charlie's blog, Alice's blog, etc. etc.* to find an actual good place to eat. A real shame.

Overpriced. Over-rated. Poorly managed. Poor cooking. How is this chain still in business?

I realize this post is scathing and maybe not tasteful to some. But I'm not sorry. I never bag on a restaurant unless there are consistent screw-ups. Believe me, The Cheesecake Factory has screwed up plenty of times during my previous coerced visits. I hope none of my other friends choose this as a birthday dinner location...

Okay, I'm going to put on my flame retardant suit for the ensuing flame war to occur in this post's comments. Unless y'all agree with me.

*Don't feel left out if I didn't list you! The list of SD food bloggers is quite long.


Liz said...

DITTO!!!! I wouldn't even consider going unless I got a coupon for a big discount. Still... I don't see the point in waiting 1-2 hrs for something not so great when you can put your reservation in at a joint serving much more superb food.

Roger. said...

Yep! Seriously though, I have to hand it to them. Being able to generate such a large client base despite their shortcomings is pretty impressive.

joanh said...

yeah.. i haven't been to Cheesecake in a long time. But it's huge portions and family/group friendly.. i wouldn't wait a long time for it, but some of their dishes are ok. although their cheesecake slices have gotten tiny and more expensive!

Sarah Jane said...

Geez, tell us how you REALLY feel! Actually, I love TCF. We have 2 in the Pasadena area and I like them both pretty well. I've only ever disliked (very much so) one thing I ordered and that was The Navajo (sandwich). Blandola. Out of these 2 locations we have, the one at the Santa Anita Westfield Shopping Center is the best service-wise and wait-time-wise.
I DO hate the big ol' mound of whipped cream they put on the cake plates. Using whipped cream to garnish dessert isn't just a trick, it's also very dated and cheap looking.