The Top 10 Dishes (Other Than Cheesecake) at The Cheesecake Factory

With nearly 200 menu items at The Cheesecake Factory, how can you choose just one?
With nearly 200 menu items at The Cheesecake Factory, how can you choose just one?
Photo by bfishadow via flickr

Opening the menu at The Cheesecake Factory is like opening an encyclopedia. Spiral-bound, it's filled with nearly 200 menu items and 50 types of cheesecake. You'd think a restaurant named after the creamy dessert would have more flavors of cheesecake than entrée options.

As you flip through the monstrosity that is a dining menu, you might find yourself torn between a couple...or five...dishes, leaving your head hurting and your stomach growling. I know I have fallen into this conundrum, and often I resort to asking my waiter or waitress what his or her favorite dish is -- and it's always something different.

So to help you narrow down your dining decision before you dig into the sweet treat you really came for -- cheesecake -- we have provided you with ten of the best dishes on The Cheesecake Factory's menu. Hopefully now you won't have to make a game-time decision when the waiter returns to your table.

10. Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls

Begin your meal with something light and fresh. The Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls (available on the SkinnyLicious Menu) feature a variety of raw vegetables (asparagus, carrots, green onion and shiitake mushrooms) with rice noodles, cilantro and small cold shrimp, all wrapped in thin sheets of rice paper. Dip these summer rolls in either the spicy chili sauce to make your taste buds dance, or use the peanut dipping sauce for a milder, but sweet, addition to the crunchy, refreshing summer rolls. Not everything at The Cheesecake Factory has to be heavy.

9. Fresh Basil, Tomato and Cheese Flatbread

The Cheesecake Factory offers three types of flatbreads: sausage and ricotta, roasted pear and blue cheese, and fresh basil, tomato and cheese. While two have daring flavors, stick with the classic. When soft basil leaves cook with thin slices of juicy tomatoes and a combination of three cheeses (mozzarella, fontina and Parmesan), it's perfection. The crust is crispy, the cheese is melted just right and the strong aroma of basil and tomato will alert your stomach that what you're about to eat is going to be amazing. You can order this item on the "SkinnyLicious Menu," for a lighter serving size.

8. Fresh Vegetable Salad

Before The Cheesecake Factory offered its "SkinnyLicious Menu," I ordered this salad when I wanted something lighter than a giant burger or bowl of pasta. This is not a salad with the standard vegetables found on simple house salads or garden salads (carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes). No, it's loaded with chopped asparagus and cucumber, crispy green beans, chunks of tomato, roasted beets, edamame and apple (yes, it is not a vegetable, but it is a refreshing, sweet addition to the salad). All of this sits atop a combination of radicchio and romaine lettuce, then sprinkled with soft white cheddar cheese and tossed in a pomegranate vinaigrette. Everything tastes so fresh and light, and leaves you feeling like you just took a trip to the farmers market and made a salad with everything you bought.

7. Shepherd's Pie

I don't get shepherd's pie that often, but every time I go to The Cheesecake Factory my eye always falls on this comforting Southern dish. A layer of mashed potatoes and a crust of Parmesan cheese sit atop the wonderful goodies that make this dish so scrumptious: carrots, peas, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and of course ground beef, all coated in a savory beef sauce. Forewarning, though: This dish is not the most beautifully presented, especially when you start digging into the potatoes to scoop out the beef and vegetables. But, just because it's not a pretty dish, doesn't mean it doesn't taste good.

6. Petite Filet Mignon

There are multiple steaks to choose from on The Cheesecake Factory's menu, but because you can have only one, we suggest you order the Petite Filet Mignon. It's probably one of the smallest portion sizes of meat on the menu, but each bite is juicy, savory and tender. Exchange the standard French fries for mashed potatoes -- they go better with the onion strings and steak, in my opinion. If you're in a hurry, request that your steak be butterflied; your meal will be out in no time.

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