Monday, March 19, 2007

The Factory Vs. The Cafe

This posting is a special request from the Chain Restaurant King and whatever the King wants, the King gets. He asked me to compare the Cheesecake Factory to the Grand Lux Cafe. I was a bit apprhensive at first being that I love them both and feel they are rather similar. They both have the same owner and both are rather extravagent looking chains but if you really examine the two with a fine microscope like I have you will see that there are differences that make each of them unique.

I shall start with the decor. Both have a grand oppulence to them but the Grand Lux takes it a step further. I think it might even be too much though. It almost feels a little fake. It works in Las Vegas (where the original was built) but next to JC Penny kind of feels awkward. Cheesecake is a bit more understated so I think it works better.
Moving on to the menu options I think Cheesecake Factory has more chose from with their 20 page menu filled with advertising. Sometimes thought I get a bit overwhelmed with all of the choices, like what if I get the Grilled Eggplant Sandwich and the person nest to me is eating some awesome pasta dish or something , I might get jealous and upset with my choice.
In regards to appetizers I think Cheesecake wins because I simply love the Thai Lettuce Wraps and Avocado Egg Rolls. I recently got the Coco-Maca Chicken Satay at the Grand Lux but it wasn't totally amazing. It was like really good Coconut Chicken. I would give it an 8 out of 10. I was very impressed t see that they had edmame on the menu. I love that stuff! So much fun to eat! They also have Asian Chicken Nachos that I am curious to try.
In regards to entrees both have similar hearty dishes mostly inspired but Asian and Italian cuisine. Just comparing entree sized salads I think I like the Grand Lux Cafe's better. The Polynesian Salad is delicious. It is similar to the Lua Salad at Cheesecake but the Polynesian is just a bit better. I think it is the dressing that makes it better, it is sweeter. I also like the chicken in it better too.
I like the sandwiches better at Cheesecake Factory better but I still think Grand Lux does a stellar job with their offerings. Next time I go I am going to try a burger. Oh I also think that the mashed potatoes are better at Cheesecake. They are creamier and have skins in it. The ones at Grand Lux are more basic. I mean still better than at most chains but not as good as Cheesecake. My dad just got the Venetian Chicken at Grand Lux and it was very good. It was chicken in a cream sause. Good, flat chicken but the highlight of the dish were these pieces of fried zucchini they served with it. It was better than any fried zucchini I ever tried at any good Italian restaurant so because of that I think I will give Grand Lux the edge in entrees.
I like the desserts better at the Cheesecake Factory because I mean you kind of have to. The place is called Cheesecake Factory not Thai Chicken Pasta World. If you really think about it, it is pretty cool how many different kinds of cheesecakes they have and they are all amazingly delicious. I don't like at Grand Lux how you have to order certain "baked" desserts before your meal. How do you know if you want dessert before I even have a piece of bread (which is better at Cheesecake).
OK, so in conclusion I think both are awesome dining experiences but I think if I had to favorite it would be the Cheesecake Factory. That is not to say I am not eagerly awaiting the opening of Grand Lux in Jersey, I just think Cheesecake will always be #1 in my heart.


steve said...

I like Grand Lux Cafe but nothing compares to the cheesecake factory.

Nina said...

the true test will be a head to head taste test of the chicken fingers because really cheesecake factory is hard to beat