When ranking upscale national chain restaurants, The Cheesecake Factory comes close to leading the pack. Until the economy tanked the chain was adding a new link or two monthly. That has slowed dramatically, but the keys to continued success for the Factory folk are its swift service and ambitious menu.
By Valley standards most entrees are on the edge of “pricey” but nicely presented, generous portions that make the chain-link formula work like a recession proof charm — especially with more affluent young diners.
The namesake desserts are a sweet conclusion at around $7.95, but burgers charred on fresh-baked breads, varied piles of favorite pastas, about $15, include a very spicy Cajun jambalaya linguini with sautéed shrimp. An endless choice of appetizers priced around $8.95, with several suitable for sharing, are justly popular.
The Palate savored slow-roasted and glazed beef ribs with tasty sides of fries and onion strings. Also appealing was the herb-crusted salmon with mashed potatoes and a side of fresh asparagus from the fish and seafood menu, around $18.95. A companion praised the meatloaf with brown gravy, grilled onions and a veggie.
All in all the CCF serves something like 300 items and sports a complete bar at the elegant, airy Americana Center in Glendale and the comfy, marble enclosed corner of Colorado and Raymond in Pasadena where the din of casual conversation can be distracting.
Again I must applaud the service staffs. Both locations offer limited parking validation. Reservations are suggested.