Although very few (if any) of my blog entries recount my eating experiences at big restaurant chains, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I never eat at them. It’s not that I don’t find the food to be good, I think it’s more that I don’t necessarily find the food to be very special. So there really isn’t a need to write about it.
I decided that the couple of dishes I’ve had lately at The Cheesecake Factory were pretty good and worth capturing. On a recent dinner with N Squared, we decided to eat at the Palo Alto location. Pdho and I ended up ordering the same thing we ordered on a previous dinner at the San Francisco location. Unfortunately, I found the two dishes at the Palo Alto location weren’t as good as I’ve had it in San Francisco.
I really liked this dish the first time I had it. It is bow-tie pasta served with chicken, mushrooms, tomato, pancetta, peas, and caramelized onions in a roasted garlic parmesan cream sauce. Although it sounds like it would be a heavy dish, I actually thought it was rather light considering the parmesan cream sauce. Unfortunately, the sauce and overall flavor of the pasta at the Palo Alto location was not only light in consistency but also kind of light in flavor. I was very disappointed by how bland-tasting the dish was.
Pdho always orders the Hibachi Steak which is Angus Hangar steak prepared with a mix of sauteed shiitake mushrooms, onions, and bean sprouts and served with sides of wasabi mashed potatoes and tempura asparagus. I was really impressed with how well-cooked this steak was at the SF location. The steak was well-seasoned and cooked just right to ensure its tenderness and juiciness was maintained. I liked the teriyaki-like sauce, and the wasabi mashed potatoes were smooth and buttery. For whatever reason, it just didn’t taste the same this time around though. The steak was okay in taste and preparation, but the mashed potatoes were a little too chunky. In fact, some chunks of potato tasted almost uncooked. The potatoes just weren’t very well-mashed, but they still had a similar buttery taste…. maybe a little too much so. It was inexplicably disappointing.
Overall, the food was okay, but it made me think about how inconsistent the food can be at chain restaurants. Everything else as far as ambiance, decor and cheesecake is pretty much the same across the restaurants. However, it goes to show how the food can really be hit or miss, particularly with dishes that are slightly more sophisticated to prepare. Either way, I still think The Cheesecake Factory is a good restaurant, especially as far as chain restaurants go. I am just being particular with my criticism given the opportunity to do a direct comparison. 🙂
The Cheesecake Factory
375 University Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301
PAFO Ratings for The Cheesecake Factory:
Price 3 star
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3 stars
Overall rating 3 stars