Report Card: Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory at Polaris

The Cheesecake Factory at Polaris

Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

Overall GrubGrade B

 

The Breakdown:

Atmosphere:  Grade D:  We have a real love-hate relationship with the Cheesecake Factory.  There are two Cheesecake Factories in Columbus, and they’re both at shopping malls.  And while we might be slightly prejudiced against mall restaurants, our real problem with Cheesecake Factory is the interior of the restaurant, especially the Polaris Mall location.  From the exterior, the Polaris Cheesecake Factory looks exactly like every other Cheesecake Factory.  It’s nice but it’s not going to win any architectural awards.  But the seating arrangement makes us want to scream.  There are plenty of booths and free standing tables scattered throughout the restaurant, but there is also then extremely long bench with tables that runs almost the entire length of the restaurants.  And for some reason, the Einsteins at the Cheesecake Factory think that this is the area that should be seated first.  WRONG!  It should be seated last.  Every time we have visited the Polaris Cheesecake Factory, we have been seated at this ridiculous bench, where right on your elbow is a total stranger yapping about how the needed to take a stool sample in to their doctor.  It is truly horrible.

High marks:  You definitely know it’s a Cheesecake Factory from the outside

Low marks:   Ridiculous seating arrangement may ruin your visit

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Service:  Grade B:  Our server, Shontaye, did a really nice job, especially considering she had multiple “tables” along the bench from hell.  We visited for lunch, so the place wasn’t very crowded.  That, however, did not make sitting at the bench any more enjoyable.  Our food arrived promptly, and Shontaye did not make any mistakes with our order.  However, we would expect a higher level of engagement considering the light lunch crowd.  

High marks:  Accurate and competent service

Low marks:   Minimal engagement, nothing special

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Food/Spirits:  Grade A-:  The abysmal seating arrangement aside, the Cheesecake Factory has some pretty good grub.  Since we were doing the lunch thing, and one of us had to work after lunch, we settled on Raspberry and Strawberry lemonades.  Nothing spectacular to report here, so we will just move along to the food.  We started with the Dynamite Tempura Shrimp, which was pretty good.  The standard by which we measure shrimp appetizers is the Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill, and the Tempura Shrimp at the Cheesecake Factory were not even close, even though they were pretty good.  Katina ordered the Louisiana Chicken Pasta and I ordered the Gumbo.  The Louisiana Chicken Pasta was a decent dish, but it was way out of balance.  There was far too little chicken and far too much pasta, which really held the dish back.  Instead of being excellent, it turned out to be okay.  Now, the Gumbo is a different story.  Perfectly balanced, the only thing wrong with the Gumbo is its lack of heat.  That doesn’t surprise me coming from a restaurant, but if you’ve ever had homemade gumbo, then you know it should light you up.  The gumbo at the Cheesecake Factory is very tasty, but just lacks the heat you’d expect from a Cajun dish.  Of course, you’d be intellectually deficient if you went to the Cheesecake Factory and didn’t at least bring home some cheesecake.  Katina ordered the Blueberry White Chocolate Truffle cheesecake and I ordered the White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia cheesecake.  Both were intensely awesome.  I would almost rather just go there for cheesecake in the future.

High marks:  Good gumbo, decent entrees, amazing cheesecake            

Low marks:  Louisiana Chicken Pasta out of balance, gumbo could be spicier, shrimp not exciting

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Value:  Grade B+:  If you get dessert, and you should, you will certainly have plenty to eat.  Portion size is fairly generous, and food quality is higher than might be expected.  The seating arrangement makes the dining experience not enjoyable, so that actually brings the value grade down, as we would rather go to a similar restaurant that didn’t seat us so close to complete strangers.

High marks:   Generous portion size, decent price

Low marks:  Bad dining experience

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