Last night we had a wonderful date night planned. We had procured some tickets to the Salt Lake premier of 21, and I invited our friends Tess and David to come with us. We were actually all meeting at Jordon Commons at around 6 to pick up our tickets, get some food and watch a movie. Well, shortly after I left the house, I got a call from Ryan telling me that he was there trying to pick up our tickets, and they had just “sold out”. Ugh. I’m getting tired of these movie premiers where you have to get there more than an hour and a half early just to get a ticket. So, there we were, out for a movie with nothing to see. We couldn’t find one other movie now playing that we wanted to see, so Tess suggested we go to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Anything involving cheesecake sounds good to me, so off we went.
So, here’s my review of the Cheesecake Factory (having never been before, I figured I was about as impartial as I could be, although I’ve heard wonderful things about it, so I was excited to try it out).
**The Wait. We waited over an hour. On a Thursday night. Now when we went to check in they told us it would be 35-40 minutes, which didn’t sound THAT long, but we should have gotten a clue from the fact that they didn’t even have any pagers to give out. The nice hostess told us to come back in about 10 minutes just to get a pager, which we would hold on to for the next 3/4 of an hour waiting for it to light up. I don’t think the wait was totally unreasonable, but if it’s going to be an hour, why don’t you just tell me it’s going to be an hour. Then I can jump over to the mall over there and go shop for some new sunglasses or something fun. Don’t lie to me with a smile on your face and say it’s going to be 35 minutes when you know darn well it’s NOT. But, since we were waiting, it gave us time to chat with our friends, play “let’s pick what David’s going to order for dinner”, and run into old friends that we haven’t seen in at least two years. And we didn’t have any kids with us. That’s the kicker. Because I can wait in line, but trying to entertain my hungry, annoyed (or annoying) children for an hour is NOT fun. Although I didn’t know if Tess was going to make it. She needed a diet coke and she needed it soon.
**The Menu. Wow! It’s like a small novel. With advertising. Can you really order that diamond ring that you see on the page opposite the appetizers? It’s a bit overwhelming to have a menu that huge, but I guess then everyone can find something they will like. But advertising? I find that a bit tacky. And for people who have a hard time making decisions, that’s just too many options.
**The waitress. I think our waitress was attentive. She was there right after we were seated and she brought those diet cokes with good speed (and she kept them coming). She quickly brought bread and took our order, and I don’t think we really had to wait that long for our food. We were laughing and talking, so I guess I wasn’t really paying much attention to the clock and how long it took.
**The Food. I ordered a small meal of a 1/2 sandwich, salad and soup. I couldn’t finish it. Really. I ate the rest of the sandwich and salad for lunch today, it was that big. The soup was delicious and the sandwich and salad were also great. Ryan had a teriaki chicken, which was also yummy. I wondered why they put all the teriaki flavor on the chicken skin -ew-, instead of using a skinless chicken breast, but I think he enjoyed his meal. Even though it was huge, he managed to finish it. Tess got the same as me, and she really liked it. David, after all his studying of the menu, ended up ordering one of the “specials” the waitress told us about, which if I recall was fish with a whole bunch of broccoli. Knowing my fondness for broccoli, I hardly looked at his plate, except to say, “Wow, that’s a lot of broccoli.” Overall, I think the food is good. They serve very large portions, but they charge a lot for it. I mean, when they charge $7 for a grilled cheese sandwich, I think that’s a bit pricey, don’t you?
**The desserts. This is the reason you go there, right? Doesn’t matter how full you are, you ARE ordering dessert if you are at the cheesecake factory. So, I ordered a pecan turtle cheesecake, and I was not disappointed. It was so yummy! But I think that the mud pie was actually better. Dark rich chocolate brownie with ice cream and hot fudge. Yummmm-o! Both Ryan and Tess ordered the carrot cake. It looked beautiful! But I must say, as far as carrot cakes go, we were not impressed. Although it was moist, it wasn’t really flavorful. Not enough spice, and definitely not enough cream cheese frosting. Really. We were quite disappointed in the carrot cake. Especially at $6-$7 a piece, you expect it to be, well, to die for. It wasn’t. But I wouldn’t mind going back to sample each and every one of those desserts to give you my honest opinion of them all. Would someone like to finance that venture for me?
**The price. For a “free movie date”, this ended up being quite expensive. But I’m glad we went. We had a fabulous time, the place was beautiful, the food was great, and the company was wonderful. Would I take my family there? A big fat NO. Not a place to bring your kids, unless maybe it’s their birthday or some special occasion, or you just have too much money and you don’t know what to do with it. I would classify this as pricey, and not someplace I will go very often. Maybe if it’s just me meeting some girl friends for lunch or dinner, it would be a nice splurge, but we’re certainly not going to make a habit of going there.
So, if I were a restaurant critic (which I’m not, darn), I would give this place four out of five stars. Or golden forks, or whatever my little rating system was. It was a nice place, and they took good care of us. And I think I’m going to go and eat the rest of my cheesecake that’s in the fridge. And no, I won’t share it with you.