Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes at Cheesecake Factory

Today's choice off the Breakfast Menu was Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and the French Toast Napoleon from the Cheesecake Factory


Today the wife and I decided to hit up the Cheesecake factory for brunch. We have eaten there once before for breakfast but that was so long ago that I did not have a clear memory of why we had never returned. A friend of ours really likes eating at the establishment and it had been forever since we ventured that way. The restaurant was of course packed to the gills but we discovered the secret of the bar area where, if you can grab a table, you can jump the line and get seated faster.

Restaurant:


The Cheesecake factory  is in Kenwood, inside the Kenwood mall. It’s a big, high ceiling establishment that is never without at least a 45 minute wait. Potential diners were everywhere this Sunday morning and I was almost immediately turned off by the 45 minute wait. I don’t recall ever having a bad meal at the Cheesecake factory but I don’t recall ever having a “great” meal there either. In my mind the food is only a step above an Applebee’s for how generic it seems.  Their menu is a book sized monstrosity filled with advertisements and a variety of meals from burgers, to pizza, to pastas and even omelets they serve all day. I considered it the most popular restaurant that doesn’t know what it wants to be. The last two pages are devoted to Cheesecake, which I guess is the main reason most people come to the place. It would be a little overwhelming to come in and not know what you want to eat and be confronted with that massive amount of choices. I guess I have watched too many episodes of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares but a menu where they offer everything tells me they specialize in nothing. Even the specials menu they offer has almost 20 items on it. I should get off my soapbox and talk about brunch.

The Food: 


I ordered the French Toast Napoleon and two scrambled eggs. My wife ordered the Lemon –Ricotta Pancakes and the Morning Quesadilla.
The menu says:



French Toast Napoleon: Three Slices of Our Grilled Brioche French Toast Stacked with Strawberries, Pecans and Chantilly Cream. 



Lemon-Ricotta Pancake: Our Buttermilk Pancakes with Ricotta Cheese and Lemon Zest. Topped with Fresh Strawberries.



Morning Quesadilla: A Flour Tortilla Stuffed with Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Peppers, Onions, Black Beans, Cilantro, Cheddar and Jack Cheese and Tomatillo Cream Sauce. Served with Guacamole, Sour Cream and Salsa.

The verdict:



The French Toast Napoleon was a mixed bag. Cheesecake factory is the only restaurant in the city that I have found so far that makes their French toast with Brioche bread, which I liked. The bread was soft in the middle, almost soggy, which I hate. The French toast batter was delicious though, it had a good flavor despite the problems I had with the texture. The strawberry layers in the middle tasted good, and were a good idea. I picked off all the pecans because I am not a fan when they are whole on most foods. Also, the eggs I received were good, a little watery but mostly solid.



The Lemon Ricotta Pancakes were really good. They had a great lemony zest to them. My wife commented that if we ever ate here again she would only order the pancakes and maybe a small side with them. The pancakes reminded me of the lemon pancakes I had the last time I was in Chicago. They were really the best part of the meal. They were fluffy and tasty.  It was the first time my wife finished an order of pancakes. 



The morning Quesadilla was good. It had a lot going on, with the peppers onions and black beans. Unlike a regular omelet those ingredients were not cooked into the egg but instead were stuffed into the tortilla shell. I liked the dish but at the same time felt something was missing. It isn’t something I would go out of my way to order again.

Overall Experience:

I give the whole experience 3.5 out of 5 broken eggs:



It was a middling experience. The food was flawed but had some good points to it. The atmosphere of the restaurant was clean and nice but also crowded and loud. There was little about the brunch that made me feel like I had to put this place on my calendar every week. Although the pancakes were delish I can’t say I would brave the wait time and noisy multitudes to have them again.

For more information on the location:




Cheesecake Factory Cincinnati
Address: 7875 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236 
Phone:  (513) 984-6911
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Monday - Thursday
Friday & Saturday
 
Sunday
11:00 am - 11:00 pm 
11:00 am - 12:30 am
 
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

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