Sherman's Food Adventures: Cheesecake Factory (Bellevue Square)

Cheesecake Factory (Bellevue Square)

Did you know that one of the first ever posts I did on this blog was the Bellevue location of Cheesecake Factory (picture courtesy of Vanfoodies)?  Now you won't find that post anywhere because I deleted it.  Why you might ask?  Well, it was crappy to be honest.  The pictures was with my Blackberry (LOL) and the writing was pretty brief.  So off it went into cyberspace trash forever.  I've been back since to this location many times, but never wrote a post about it because...  well, most people have been to Cheesecake Factory and I didn't feel inspired to write anything.  This time around, it was for lunch and we had a few of their lunch specials and yes, I felt like blogging about it.

Interestingly, they the menu claims that their specials are smaller portions of their regular sized dinner servings.  If you know anything about Cheesecake Factory, their regular portions are quite large.  Hence it was no surprise that the Miso Salmon looked practically like the usual one.  As much as some of the dishes are merely large here, the salmon is one of my favourites.  This one was no exception with buttery and flaky salmon.  The miso glaze was salty but mostly sweet with rice underneath.  Another one of their more popular items is the Chicken Piccata and yes, it didn't look small at all.  There was a bevy of tender and moist chicken tenders bathed in a buttery and tangy sauce.  Although there was a noticeable amount of capers, the sauce was not salty.  This was good with the fairly al dente angel hair pasta.

Although there are more better dishes to order off the menu, Viv had The Everything Flatbread Pizza which was pretty good, if not typical.  It was on the thicker side, but didn't eat too dense.  The bottom and edges were crispy and nutty with enough browning.  As stated in its name, there was a bevy of pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella and tomato sauce. For myself, I also had a lunch special in the Famous Factory Meatloaf with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, grilled onions and corn succotash.  This was once again a pretty large portion for lunch.  The meatloaf was moist, meaty and well-seasoned.  Gravy was rich and full of umaminess.  Naturally, this was more comfort food than anything, so I wasn't expecting much.  It did the job well.

Shockingly, my daughter settled for the kid's menu and ordered the Spaghetti and Meatballs.  Turns out I should've steered her away from this despite the cost-savings.  This was a pathetic interpretation of the classic dish as there was hardly enough sauce for even half the amount of pasta.  Therefore, the dish was clumpy and flavorless.  The only redeeming thing about it was the robust meatball that had plenty of natural texture.

Of course we couldn't end the meal without a few slices of cheesecake right?  We decided to try one of their featured selections in the Upside Down Pineapple Cheesecake.  What a complete mistake this was as the thing was practically inedible.  The sugar content was far too high and each bite was not pleasant.  Even the pineapple was far too candied for our liking.  Fortunately, we had a much more appealing Raspberry White Chocolate for our second cake.   This was much more representative of what Cheesecake Factory is all about.  It was definitely cheesy and rich without being super heavy.  Sweetness was purposeful and the raspberry helped lighten things up.  As you can tell, I like Cheesecake Factory.  Yes, I know there are detractors out there and I don't necessarily disagree.  Some of the dishes here are not very good, only saving grace is the portion size.  However, if you pick the right things, you get both.

The Good:
- Large portions
- Huge menu
- Pick the right items and it'll be good

The Bad:
- Most of the menu is just size and really heavy food
- Don't understand the lineup


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