I didn’t realize how big of a deal The Cheesecake Factory was in Marina Del Rey until I pulled up in the parking lot. A big lot, valet-only, with dozens of six-figure vehicles being displayed. I felt small leaving my 1996 Toyota Camry. Then I proceeded to enter the restaurant, which looked like a damn yacht club, with the requisite ocean-side view and hundreds of patrons in proper attire. I felt small wearing my generic button-down shirt and slacks. This damn yacht club employed an army of servers who looked like they were getting ready to go to Diddy’s all-white party in the Hamptons.
Besides the unusually fancy setting, everything else about this Cheesecake Factory falls in line with all the other locations. Mediocre food from a vast menu served over-salted in a huge portion and marked up in price. I really have no idea what to order from here nowadays, so I asked the server to suggest something. He suggested the Chicken Bellagio, which is one of their specialties. Nothing special here, just a piece of breaded chicken served over some basil angel-hair pasta, with some prosciutto, parmesan and arugula on top. I was very full from this huge portion, but it was, as expected, very oily, salty and one-note.
My friend, who seems to love this place and chose it to celebrate his girlfriend’s birthday that night, raves about the jambalaya. Nothing special there either though. One positive note: the service was very good. Servers were extremely attentive and cordial. The server of the year there probably gets an invite to the all-white party, that’s why. But it was a bit disappointing, on my way home, seeing all the restaurants I would’ve much preferred to visit.
Chris Hei grade: C
The Cheesecake Factory
4142 Via Marina
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292