Cheesecake Factory – Now open in Santa Monica
Right in the heart of the beach city of Santa Monica, you will now find the lusciousness that is The Cheesecake Factory. This new restaurant is located on the third floor of the Santa Monica Place luxury shopping center. We were lucky enough to to attend their per-opening event the weekend before it opened and get a glimpse of the beautiful interior and of course the amazing food. From top to bottom of this new location you see that the interior decor is beautiful and very glamorous.
The beauty starts right from the opening of the doors. Not only will you get a nice welcome from the host but you will get an eye full of elegance and warmth.
One your way to your table let your eyes gaze all over the room and take in the golden beauty of the decor. The restaurant feels so elegant and upscale. There are rich colors around every curve. I loved the snake like curving lights that ran the length of the ceiling. The color scheme was comforting and the music was pleasant, though a little loud for me.
The bar area was much bigger than other Cheesecake Factories that I have been to. Wall to wall variety of liqueur options behind the bar and two televisions. They had bar seating as well as table tops. I’d come back and have a drink here, it had a great ambiance.
Now on the most important part, the FOOD. The menu now contains symbols for their new “SkinnyLicious” plates as well as what can be made gluten free upon request (side note: please be aware the kitchen is not a gluten free environment and cross-contamination can occur) . The “SkinnyLicious” plate are a new collection of menu options with lower calories but still the same rich tastes you come the The Cheesecake Factory for.
I’ve been to The Cheesecake Factory a few times before and what I always remember is how big their servings are. This time around I saw on the menu the greatest note ever. It said, our servings sizes are large. We do not mind sharing of entrees. We’ll even bring you extra plates. This was great to read, especially if you don’t happen to be someone who eats left overs. This way you can split a meal and save room for some delicious cheesecake, that is why you came right?
Since it was a preview/training night, we were not able to delight in the full amount of menu choices but were able to try some of the classics Cheesecake Factory entrees and few new ones. We started our meal with a couple appetizers. The decision was hard to make, you know trying to please everyone. So we went with one safe and classic appetizer and a new one.
Guacamole Made-to-Order. Ripe avocados, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, line and chilies. You tell them how hot you would like it. The chips were very light and crispy and the guacamole very fresh, smooth but for me a little lacking in heat. I like mine spicy, but it was gone in minutes.
Next up was the Loaded Baked Potato Tots. Yes, you read that correctly, they took the wonderful flavors of a baked potato and deep friend them. Can you say heaven. What’s not better deep fried? They are crispy potato tots filled with cheese, bacon and green onions, served with sour cream for dipping.
For our entrees, we all choose the most mouth watering dishes. My daughter choose the Macaroni and Cheese Burger. She was on cloud nine when this plate arrived. Of course she could not finish the whole burger, but she smiled the whole time she ate it. She enjoyed it just as much the next day too. It is a charbroiled beef patty and topped with a creamy fried macaroni and cheese ball and cheddar cheese sauce. Served with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion.
The next dish was a huge helping of beautiful, colorful and of course flavorful pasta, the Tomato Basil Pasta. In this dish you will find penne pasta topped with a piece of grilled chicken breast, fresh mozzarella balls, a touch of garlic and both tomato and basil sauce. It was very light and fresh. Side note: only full-size portions are available.
We also ordered this massive helping of Chinese Chicken Salad. The Chinese chicken salad has sliced chicken breast, rice noodles, lettuce, green onions, almonds, crisp wontons, bean sprouts, orange and sesame seeds. The twist the Cheesecake Factory puts on this meal it that they toss it in their special Chinese plum dressing, instead of the typical a ginger soy vinaigrette dressing. Look at this presentation, so cool. This dish had me at hello.
Each of the meals above were delicious, but I saved the best for last. The last entree we had was the Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken. This entree was more than just delicious, it was mouthwatering, delectable and just scrumptious. It was also gluten free, but not any where near taste free. This dish includes a fresh all natural free-range half chicken served with mashed potatoes, cooked carrots and watercress. Then they top the whole plate with a light lemon garlic-herb sauce. It was the prefect amount of lemon vs garlic. The sauce enhanced the natural flavors of each part of this trio. This is a must order.
We made it through the entrees and though we really didn’t have much room left for dessert in our stomachs, we still managed to find a bit of space. How can you go to the Cheesecake Factory and not eat cheesecake? We tried two different cheesecakes that night, but only one came home with us to be enjoyed again. Why? Well here take a look at the piece that never had a chance.
This is the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, just looking at this picture makes me want more. Bonus: this little slice of heaven is gluten free. The Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake is made of a flourless Godiva chocolate cake, topped with Godiva chocolate cheesecake and chocolate mousse. It took all the restraint my fellow eaters had to even let me get a picture of it. It is very very RICH, it would be hard to eat this whole piece without help, though I am sure I’d give it a run for its money. If you like chocolate, please do yourself a favor and save room for this. The picture does not do it justice.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake. Equally as good a the previous cheesecake but a totally different palate appeal. This cheesecake starts with a pecan brownie with a caramel-fudge swirl cheesecake, topped with caramel turtle pecans and chocolate. The caramel in this cheesecake is so smooth, sweet and yummy. For us the dollop of chocolate frosting on the top was a bit much.
With this visit to The Cheesecake Factory in the books, I can honestly say that the staff at this new location were helpful, professional and ready to serve up some of the richest flavor combos the area has to offer. This addition to the downtown district of Santa Monica joins a long list of must see spots and eateries.
If your up for a drive or have friends in town, Santa Monica is a great place to show off how beautiful California really is. Don’t forget to stop by The Cheesecake Factory and enjoy the elegance, comfort and incredibly delicious food and desserts.
About The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory story begins in Detroit, Michigan in the 1940’s. Evelyn Overton found a recipe in the local newspaper that would inspire her “Original” Cheesecake. Everyone loved her recipe so much that she decided to open a small Cheesecake shop, but she eventually gave up her dream of owning her own business in order to raise her two small children, David and Renee. She moved her baking equipment to a kitchen in her basement and continued to supply cakes to several of the best restaurants in town while raising her family.
In 1972, with their children grown, Evelyn and her husband Oscar decided to pack up all of their belongings and move to Los Angeles to make one last attempt at owning their own business. With the last of their savings, they opened The Cheesecake Factory Bakery and began selling Evelyn’s cheesecakes to restaurants throughout Los Angeles. Through hard work and determination their business grew to a modest size and Evelyn was soon baking more than 20 varieties of cheesecakes and other desserts.
With great foresight and intuition, their son David decided to open a restaurant to showcase his mother’s selection of cheesecakes. Somehow he just knew that guests would enjoy a restaurant with an extensive dessert menu. It was 1978 and he opened the first The Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA. The restaurant was an immediate success and today there are nearly 200 The Cheesecake Factory restaurants around the world that share the Overton’s commitment to quality and spirit of innovation and hard work.