Ending a weekend in the mid-Atlantic area, my husband and I traveled to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. With a couple hours until our flights at BWI, we decided to get some lunch and tour the harbor.
After walking the harbor and enjoying the unseasonably warm February air, we decided to have lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. We had dined at one in Palo Alto almost a year ago, so we were prepared for the portions.
When we entered the restaurant, it seemed a little disorganized, with the hostess station placed around the corner from the doorway. Once there, we were asked for the number in our party and told to go further around the desk. However, no name was taken, which made it difficult for the seating hostess to know which party we were, as other parties were close behind us.
Once seated, we were greetedly promptly by our waitress, Bridget. After taking our cocktail orders (a “classic” cocktail and a glass of wine), she immediately offered water in addition to those drinks. A nice start.
The menu at Cheesecake Factory is enormous. When drinks were delivered we still needed a few minutes to ponder our multitude of choice. However, playing our own games of elimination, we each made a choice, and Bridget returned within minutes, as promised.
Once our orders were placed, we took our first sips of our drinks. My husband found his drink, The Ritz, to be tasty. Although his drink contained cognac, which I don’t enjoy always, I thought it had a nice balance of flavors and found it to be tasty also. My glass of Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon was good for its price. It has a decent amount of body and hints of berries.
We enjoyed the warm breads that were served while we awaited our meals. After nibbling just a little (in order to save room for our meals), a manager, Yvette, appeared at our table. She had come to apologize that our meals would be delayed because the sauce for my pasta dish had not been prepared correctly. As it would take another 5 minutes for a new order to be made, she offered us a salad while we waited. We thanked her and chose the Caesar Salad.
The caesar salad was fair. Although it was a generous serving with plenty of grated parmesan and croutons, the romaine lettuce was pale and had a bitter taste.
Within minutes of receiving the salad, our meals arrived. My dish, Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta, was a little disappointing. Chicken was supposed to be the main ingredient after the pasta, but I found only 3 chunks in the entire bowl! The sauce was creamy and spicy, as described, and filled with peas and pieces of bell peppers, though it also lacked asparagus spears. Topped with some parmesan cheese (upon my request), it was a satisfactory dish. It should be noted that I ordered the lunch portion, which was so large that I could eat only half!
My husband ordered The Navajo sandwich, which also fell short of anticipation. He said that the filling was flavorless, though the fry bread contained a good deal of flavor. It would have benefited from more seasoning or additional toppings.
After eating meals that were huge, we had no room for dessert. We did peek at both the display case and menu of cheesecakes, which were amazing. Perhaps next time, we’ll go simply for dessert.
If you’re looking for excellent service and generous portions, The Cheesecake Factory is worth a try.