On Facebook, I often saw my friends post pictures of a restaurant called Cheesecake Factory whenever they went to the States. It sounded like a must-go place in U.S. With a curious mind, I decided to check out the Bellevue store when I was enroute to Oregon. Based on the review I saw, I was expecting a packed restaurant. To my surprise, it’s quite the opposite, despite that it’s 12pm on a Friday afternoon and the store is located in the town centre. The store actually didn’t get filled until past 1pm.
To my surprise, Cheesecake Factory isn’t just about cheesecakes. You can grab a meal and dessert there. I ordered a lunch size Louisiana Chicken Pasta, which was of a very generous portion. Although a bit too salty to my liking, I liked the pasta sauce. It’s creamy, full of mushrooms and diced peppers, and seasoned with a kick. The pasta was bowtie, which was an unusual choice given that one would expect something common like penne or spaghetti. The chicken was moist and crispy on the outside. Mr. opted for the lunch size Famous Factory Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach as the sides. Never a ground beef/hamburger person, I gave it a try. I found the meatloaf a bit too dry on the outside, but it remained moist inside. However, I’ve never had meatloaf before so I had nothing to base it on. The mashed potatoes were done from scratch, with some skin mashed in it. According to Mr., sautéed spinach was a bit dry – I hope it wasn’t because it’s microwaved to serve.
Of course, I wouldn’t leave the place without trying its cheesecake. After reading Chowtimes’ post, I was intrigued by the one Ben tried, so I chose the same. The Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake wasn’t as rich and sweet as I thought. It’s a big slice of cheesecake too, thank goodness the two of us decided to share just one piece. I could taste the coffee with a hint of Kahlua and the chocolate ganache was also good. The cake went well with a cup of coffee.
I think the service was pretty good, although the server wasn’t too helpful with explaining the portion size. Her interpretation of the dish size was way off, way smaller than what they actually were. It’s OK – it made it seem like an even better deal. I like the fact that the menu allows you to order lunch size, which was quite a generous portion. I’m sure there’d be plenty of leftover if we ordered the regular size.
While the interior decoration was nice, I found a disconnection between the name and its decor. I would never in a million year imagine a “factory” would have an upscale, Roman-style flare in its decor. The restaurant also had a bar/lounge section which only allow customers of legal age to be seated there.
Now that I’ve been there, I still don’t quite get the hype of it. The food was pretty good for its price but there’s nothing really memorable about it. Been there, done that. Not sure if I will return just yet. But when I head back, I think I’ll just try some other cheesecake flavours and that will be it.
Cheesecake Factory, Bellevue
401 Bellevue Square, Bellevue, Washington U.S.