I'm not usually a chain restaurant fan, but the brioche French toast at Cheesecake Factory is in a class by itself.
The item at $7.95 is only available for Sunday brunch — a good thing, because you don't want to be eating something this rich and addictive on a daily basis. The thick slices of brioche are crisp on the outside, their custardy interiors perfumed with brandy; the bread soaks in its batter overnight.
Although the dish is available as a napoleon (with strawberries, pecans and Chantilly cream) I order mine plain, without so much as powdered sugar. French toast like this needs nothing but your full attention.
Cheesecake Factory has locations at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, 631-361-6600, Mall at the Source in Westbury, 516-222-5500 and Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station, 631-271-8200.
Newsday Photo / Karen Wiles Stabile