December 01, 2015 Hamra & Verdun Beirut Lebanon

The Cheesecake Factory in Lebanon: The First Experience

RATING:84/100

Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 7/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 27/30

Architecture / Interior: 7/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 9/10

Value for money: 9/10

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Tonight we feast at the Cheesecake Factory. I was one of the first people to be invited alongside VIP guests and media representatives to try this legendary place. On the first night, personnel from Cheesecake Factory worldwide were among the guests, including managers from Dubai, Operations from the Middle East and the owners from America. 

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Located next to the new H&M Middle East flagship, a large space set on two floors welcomes you on Verdun's main highway. 

The large place is divided into cozy spaces, sofas, tables and high tables. On the first floor is the dining area, boasting the signature feel of the Cheesecake Factory restaurants around the world. Wood ceiling, orange lights, white ceramics floor and marble tables surrounded by wooden chairs and sofas. 

Facing the stairs is of course the famous cheesecake display. Dozens of colorful cakes will make your mouth water before you even sit for dinner.

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The 26 pages menu is thick and glossy. It includes cocktails, wines, small plates and snacks, appetizers, specialties, glamburgers, more specialties, salads, sandwiches, eggs and omelets, Sunday brunch, cheesecakes, desserts and beverages.

Good to know:

  • The place is noisy; music should be decreased.
  • The Cheesecake Factory doesn't serve pork.
  • The 26 pages menu offers hundreds of choices. It won’t be easy to make a choice.
  • They have a Skinnylicious menu that includes plates and appetizers, pizzettas, salads and other specialties for the healthy lovers.
  • They offer Coca-Cola in large cups with free refills.

Before moving on to dinner I was personally invited to the kitchen. A beehive! I saw 35 chefs working in a synchronized manner with plates taking them less than 7 minutes to be prepared. Watching the action live was heaven for a foodie like me. I was literally in wonderland. Afterwards, it was an up close and personal experience with the cheesecakes, 18 of them, colorful and appetizing, just ready to be devoured.

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On the table, you'll find a small plate, two forks, a knife and a spoon. You are asked if you would like some bread before a basket lands on the table with President butter -demi-sel. The basket includes whole wheat bread with honey and cacao and French baguette. Be prepared to feel the sweetness of this original bread.

The menu is huge; It was not easy for me to choose especially that garlic is almost in everything. I finally managed to pick some items, with the help of the waiters who knew their menu by heart. A professional set of waiters wearing their biggest smile tonight.

Dinner:

  • Crispy Tempura shrimp tossed with spicy dynamite sauce. Ten individual shrimp bites battered and fried served with a lightly sweet dynamite sauce. A very generous portion at LBP16,750. 

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  • Fresh vegetable salad: asparagus, green beans, tomato, cucumber, roasted beets, Apple, edamame, radicchio, romaine, white cheddar cubes all chopped in a pomegranate vinaigrette. Beautifully diced, a mix of crunchy vegetables and chewy cheese in a light acidic, lemony and sweet sauce with a hints of sesame. A huge portion for LBP20,750.

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  • Americana cheeseburger: American and cheddar cheese, crunchy potato crisps, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, pickles and the secret sauce. A huge burger made of a super tender bun covered with sesame, a thick and juicy patty, crunchy finger chips, enjoyable fresh cabbage at the bottom, a thick slice of tomato, caramelized grilled onions and the sauce. Loved the burger but would have loved to feel a certain sweetness, a boost. I'll add a bit of ketchup next time.

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  • Fries are awesome. McKain American fries and you feel it, this difference between those and the local ones is clear. They are priced accordingly for LBP10,500.
  • California Cheesesteak: Thinly sliced grilled steak covered with sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, peppers and cheese stuffed inside a toasted roll. A unique kind of baguette, lightly chewy on the inside and smoothly crunchy on the outside, filled with a load of melted cheese, tender meat and grilled vegetables why a light crunch. That's a heavy yet enjoyable sandwich served with fresh greens on the side. 

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Tonight's experience was very positive. Portions are generous and fulfilling, prices are well studied and taste is good. Compared to my last experience in Dubai, these plates look clean and neat containing less fat than my previous experience.

Now for the Cheesecakes: I had five of them and would recommend you try the simplest.

  • The Original: The one that started it all. The famous creamy cheesecake with a Graham cracker crust and sour cream topping. The simplest, the softest, the tastiest, where cheese is felt, where flavors are captured in a simple cake.

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  • Dream Extreme cheesecake: Creamy cheesecake layered with Oreo cookies, topped with Oreo cookie mousse and chocolate icing. It surely looks awesome, the best-looking cheesecake made of layers of cream and crunchy biscuits but oh man, that's a killer. Extremely sweet, extremely heavy and extremely fatty. As I previously said, I'm a fan of single layered cakes.

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  • White Chocolate Raspberry truffle: Creamy cheesecake swirled with white chocolate raspberry. It's a thick layer of white chocolate cheese mixed with bits of raspberry on a thin layer of chocolate cake. A simple cake served with two mountains of whipped cream. I loved its simplicity, rich flavors but would have preferred it with a bit less sugar.

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  • Fresh Banana cream cheesecake: Banana cream cheesecake topped with Bavarian cream and fresh sliced bananas. Freshly sliced bananas laying next to a slice of white cheesecake and banana-flavored cream. It's a cheesecake I recommend.

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  • Ultimate Red Velvet cheesecake: Layers of red velvet cake and cheesecake covered in cream cheese frosting finished with white chocolate. Madness it is but way too heavy for me. One can't deny how good it is and how equilibrated in taste it is, but it is extremely heavy.

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My verdict:

  • I loved the burger and salads.
  • The Cheesecake Factory has a happy hour every afternoon where you can enjoy those burgers at LBP10,000 only.
  • Prices are reasonable, even better than local diners.
  • Go for the single layered cheesecake not to be disappointed. Keep the Godiva, Oreo, Snickers or Red Velvet for a second visit.

It was a pre-opening perfection and I'll surely be coming back for another review once the place kicks off normally.




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been there? what was your impression? (8/10)

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happy
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good
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euhh
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meh!
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nah!
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never again