Eating mindfully whenever possible is part of a healthy lifestyle. Which is why whenever I end up eating at The Cheesecake Factory, I order from the chain’s Skinnylicious menu, wherein nothing tops 590 calories. Most of the time, I’ve gotten lucky. But, on a recent dinner visit, the chain’s lemon garlic shrimp with asparagus and angel hair pasta ($16.95; 560 calories) flopped.
The culprits: overcooked pasta and shrimp in an under-seasoned sauce. Plus a dearth of asparagus spears. Sure, I could have sent the dish back, but having waited for it about half an hour, I chose, instead, to avail myself of the restaurant’s salt and pepper shakers. My companion’s white chicken chili ($12.95; 585 calories), on the other hand, was knockout stuff.
On the other end of the spectrum, The Cheesecake Factory was part of this week's big story on the Xtreme Eating Awards for America's unhealthiest meals from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Although Red Robin topped the list with its 3,540-calorie “monster meal,” The Cheesecake Factory was cited for its bruléed French toast, described as “a plate of custard-soaked bread, topped with powdered sugar and served with maple-butter syrup and bacon.” The dish packs 2,870 calories.
The Cheesecake Factory is at Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove, 631-361-6600; at 1504 Old Country Rd., Westbury, 516-222-5500; and at 160 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station, 631-271-8200; thecheesecakefactory.com