By: Pearl Maalouf BS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
As someone who is well versed with Cheesecake Factory from the US, when it opened in Lebanon I went ASAP to check it out! Just like in the US they don’t accept reservations so If you don’t want to wait too long, you should try not to go during peak hours. For big groups, it will take awhile so always send one person early to get you on the waiting list and plan to join them around 30 minutes later.
We went around 12:30pm on a Sunday – right before the rush – and my husband and I were seated immediately on the outdoor terrace – they had heat lamps and I had a thick coat so it was a good option for us. Of course as I walked past the cheesecake display I had to snap a quick picture for you all!
We choose not to get bread as we were waiting – yes their bread is good and it’s free, but if you want to have room for dessert then trust me, you should skip it – I’d rather spend my calories on cheesecake than bread 🙂
Unless you’re a party of 4 or more people, then you should probably skip the appetizers. Cheesecake Factory is notorious for big plates and generous portions and it can catch a newbie off guard (check out the photo below- the plate was almost the entire width of our table!). General rule of thumb for a couple is: no appetizers, two entrees, and one desert. This isn’t a Lebanese mezze people – although you will get stuffed the same way – so keep the number of plates you order to a minimum!
We ordered two main dishes – the Brioche sandwich off their Sunday Brunch Menu and the Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp. Both were delicious. What I loved more was that not only did our waiter come by several times to check in on us, but other waiters smiled at us, took our empty plates, offered to bring an umbrella when they noticed the sun was hitting my eyes, offered to move the heat lamp when my husband was noticeably getting too hot. And they did it all with a smile.
When it came time for dessert we picked their current ‘special’, the S’mores Cheesecake. It was dense and delicious. As we left almost every single person on their staff that saw us walk out said some form of “Thanks for coming”, “See you Soon”, or “Good bye”. In Lebanon good service can be rare and certainly you don’t get random waiters that didn’t even serve you. It was a welcome change!