My first experience at The Cheesecake Factory was in California and it was years ago. I have been wanting to visit the restaurant here in Orlando but every time I am at The Mall of Millenia there is an endless crowd gathered outside the doors of The Cheesecake Factory waiting for a table. A few times I have visited the host stand and learned about the 45 minute wait. Most of the time I am just too hungry to wait and we end up elsewhere.
Recently Chad and I took a trip to the mall and I was determined to wait for a table. I was ready. I was prepared to sit by the fountain just outside the restaurant doors and be patient. Turns out we waited only 2 minutes before being seated. The benefits of traveling in a pack of only two.
The tables are very tight. We were placed in a two top along a wall of banquet tables, practically sitting on top of the table next to us. It was fine, I was just happy to not have to wait the normal 45 minutes.
We were immediately greeted by our server and we placed our order right away. I am on the hunt for the best veggie burger in Orlando so that was an obvious choice for us, and we also ordered the lunch salmon with mashed potatoes and asparagus.
Our server brought us bread right way as well. About three minutes after placing our order, we were informed that the kitchen had not prepped the veggie burgers for the day. In looking through the rest of the menu, there are not a lot of choices for someone who doesn’t eat a lot of meat. There is no vegetable plate, there is no veggie sandwich. The offerings were limited to a few salads and a couple of pasta dishes in which we could omit the meat. I rarely order salads out anymore as I can fix a giant bowl of lettuce in my kitchen at home along with the toppings of my own choosing. I think most Veggie Heads are tired of salads being our only options when dining out. I was devastated they “forgot” to prep the veggie burgers.
We settled on a few items from the small plates menu- a Santorini Farro Salad and a Blue Cheese and Pear Flatbread.
We didn’t have to wait long for the food. The Santorini Farro Salad was a small plate of farro (a wheat grain), cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, red onions, Feta cheese and Tzatziki tossed in a light vinaigrette. It was a decent size for an accompaniment to a larger entree. The taste was very flavorful and it was probably my most favorite dish of our lunch.
The Blue Cheese and Pear Flatbread was OK. It definitely belonged on the small plates menu as it was not very big. However, it made a decent meal when paired with the farro salad. The flatbread didn’t have a lot of flavor though- the crust was quite wimpy and limp. Definitely my least favorite of everything we ordered.
The Salmon Lunch Plate was very good. There are three styles of salmon to choose from- herb crusted, miso and plain grilled. We tried the herb crusted salmon and it was some of the best salmon I have ever had. The herbs weren’t overpowering and complimented the fish very well. The dish was served with a small scooping of mashed potatoes and three spears of asparagus. It was a lunch sized plate, a decent portion for myself. For someone like Chad who has a little bit of a bigger appetite I would recommend ordering the dinner salmon instead.
Our server was also kind enough to bring us a side of the sweet potato fries which is originally what we had ordered as a side to our veggie burger. We hadn’t asked for it but he went out of his way to make our experience better. That was a nice touch as I was pretty bummed about missing out on the burger.
We didn’t bother with getting cheesecake. I was bummed and wanted to leave.
Our service was excellent but it is definitely not a place to sneak in for a quick lunch. Plan your visit for a leisurely meal and make sure you don’t get your heart set on any one thing on the menu like I did. We will probably not return– I don’t want to wait for a table only to find out they are out of the few things I can have. I really had my heart set on that veggie burger. 3 Sprouts- I would love to give 5 here but the kitchen just can’t “forget” to make something on the menu. Especially to your veggie friends. Boo.