We are from the SF Bay Area and have heard from LA friends about how great the Cheesecake Factory is. These people *do* dine in good restaurants and consider themselves up on the dining scene so we figured that the CF must have something going for it and was not on par with Olive Garden or Marie Callender's.
We have tried to go to the CF in San Francisco (at Macy's in Union Square), but it has always been unbearably crowded so we have never felt like waiting. However, we were in Redondo Beach this weekend and our hotel was right across the street from CF so we decided to go for dinner. The wait was about 1/2 hour on a Friday night.
We were quite underwhelmed by the food. Chicken pot stickers were overly doughy and my shrimp scampi came with a pile of gummy pasta, completely stuck together, and basically inedible. My husband's cajun pasta was nothing special, other than being a humongous portion. The menu contained advertisements for things like MasterCard and Coca Cola--something we had never encountered.
CF really seemed to us like a higher end TGIF, with the same something-for-everyone cuisine. Yes, the piece of vanilla bean cheesecake we shared was tasty, but was overloaded with whipped cream. With a bill of about $100 (with a bottle of Ravenswood merlot and two margaritas beforehand), we felt we could have had something much more delicious for the price. Especially if we'd been at the CF in Brentwood or Beverly Hills.
Can anyone explain this phenomenon to me? (smile) Did we not order the right dishes?