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America’s absolutely worst restaurant and food

How do people eat this stuff?

It’s hard to ruin shrimp.
It’s hard to ruin shrimp.

Has to be, hands down — no offense to our hugely overworked waiter Rick, 45, some previous history but struggling to come back a bit (the waiter not the restaurant) — Corte Madera, Cheesecake Factory. My god and little fishes, I’ve had some bad meals, but that place is a nightmare.

Well, I had an injured kid. He went to the dentist three days before, had some nitrous and Novocaine. The Doc said, last words, “Be careful, don’t chew your lip,” but G., daring, offensive to authority, chewed a hole in his lip so big it frightened everyone, Mom, me, Sis. It looked like a big piece of exposed flesh, as if he was bit by a shark, meat hanging down, but I digress. I called the dentist and he said, “Well, text me a picture for my record, but it will get swollen, painful, and he’ll feel awful.” Which he did. Remarkably, ibuprofen knocked down the pain pretty well, but a 500 mile drive to San Francisco set him on edge a bit. He’s eight, more or less.

My wife is pretty cheap, so we ate Costco food all day, but my daughter said she had to have a real meal. I begged off and negotiated a meal by myself at the attached Indian restaurant, and the rest of the family went to the CCF. I knew it was a stupid mistake, but the sick, injured kid made me feel guilty enough to go to the chain American corporate disgusto place even though I knew, knew, it would be a disaster. But it was far more disgusting than I thought.

We ordered some appetizers for our injured, non-eating, underweight kid. Something called “tater tots extras, especial” or something, which turned out to be ground mashed potatoes loaded with bacon bits and fried in extra hot grease, served with sour cream. I thought these were good for the anorexic injured one who hadn’t eaten his morning shake. (We were trying to get calories in him. His mouth is so bad he can’t eat. He normally doesn’t eat, has very low body fat, and I get enraged at how he won’t eat anything in the best of times, but now it hurts him to eat. He will usually only eat mac & cheese, the worst kind, or ramen, or pasta and white sauce, but this was actually frightening.) They were salty and greasy, and thank god, he actually ate some.

And thus we also ordered for him a child’s version of spaghetti and meatball, for the twins fried shrimp with fries (mmm, good for the tank-people), and a shrimp and angelhair for the girl. My wife and I would split a Caesar salad, $17, SO YOU’D THINK IT WOULD BE EDIBLE BUT IT WASN’T, JUST BIG, NASTY…sorry about the all caps.

I knew the twins wouldn’t eat theirs, and they didn’t, and so I had a taste of everything, and everything was awful. The salad was a whole giant plate of lettuce with some indescribable cheese and greasy shit all over it. But at least it was big. It was an entire giant plate of this horrible mess, too much for two people, or three.

The kids’ spaghetti and meatball looked weirdish, like a mountain of pasta with a red pimple on top, which turned out to be the meatball, not more offensive than a Costco meatball but not any better, and the tomato sauce — so, so weird. Poor Rick had to offer something like a hard cheese to grate ever it. I’m sure he knew better, as in what is this horrible stuff, but he had no choice.

My beautiful daughter had shrimp scampi on angel hair, which was no more angel hair than the spaghetti/meatball mountain that the poor underpaid Mexicans in the back had prepped for anything and everything else. And the shrimp was cooked to a dry-ish god knows what. It’s hard to ruin shrimp, but I’ve seen it done a couple times, and this was the best/worst I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot. I saw a beautiful Italian break out in tears once because she was hungry and the restaurant overcooked the shrimp (cocktail), but this was worse. My daughter wouldn’t eat them, and we packed it all up, to be thrown away the next day.

Twin boy had fried (over-fried) shrimp battered in panko with ketchup or whitish sauce. There were about a dozen — I ate three, he ate four, and the rest are in the motel reefer to be eaten tomorrow or thrown into the swamp behind us. How recherché.

I’m a bit of a foodie. I once tried to make tortelli di zucca ( too drunk, and no idea how they ought to taste, and the pasta was awful) and the first time I tried to make pesto I used dried basil (the woman involved blanched and went home and despaired of me, thank god). But not a snob, I hope. Anything at least tried at, and honest I’ll try to swallow, but the whole 20-minute wait for this awful stuff. The overworked Rick (or whatever), I gave him 20. I don’t mind a mistake, but the actual corporate horror of this pissed me off. The kids like the cheesecake, but we took it away and it was slimy, disgusting. I wish I’d taken the Indian and the guilt. No one would have been wiser, and I wouldn’t have written this.

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It’s hard to ruin shrimp.
It’s hard to ruin shrimp.

Has to be, hands down — no offense to our hugely overworked waiter Rick, 45, some previous history but struggling to come back a bit (the waiter not the restaurant) — Corte Madera, Cheesecake Factory. My god and little fishes, I’ve had some bad meals, but that place is a nightmare.

Well, I had an injured kid. He went to the dentist three days before, had some nitrous and Novocaine. The Doc said, last words, “Be careful, don’t chew your lip,” but G., daring, offensive to authority, chewed a hole in his lip so big it frightened everyone, Mom, me, Sis. It looked like a big piece of exposed flesh, as if he was bit by a shark, meat hanging down, but I digress. I called the dentist and he said, “Well, text me a picture for my record, but it will get swollen, painful, and he’ll feel awful.” Which he did. Remarkably, ibuprofen knocked down the pain pretty well, but a 500 mile drive to San Francisco set him on edge a bit. He’s eight, more or less.

My wife is pretty cheap, so we ate Costco food all day, but my daughter said she had to have a real meal. I begged off and negotiated a meal by myself at the attached Indian restaurant, and the rest of the family went to the CCF. I knew it was a stupid mistake, but the sick, injured kid made me feel guilty enough to go to the chain American corporate disgusto place even though I knew, knew, it would be a disaster. But it was far more disgusting than I thought.

We ordered some appetizers for our injured, non-eating, underweight kid. Something called “tater tots extras, especial” or something, which turned out to be ground mashed potatoes loaded with bacon bits and fried in extra hot grease, served with sour cream. I thought these were good for the anorexic injured one who hadn’t eaten his morning shake. (We were trying to get calories in him. His mouth is so bad he can’t eat. He normally doesn’t eat, has very low body fat, and I get enraged at how he won’t eat anything in the best of times, but now it hurts him to eat. He will usually only eat mac & cheese, the worst kind, or ramen, or pasta and white sauce, but this was actually frightening.) They were salty and greasy, and thank god, he actually ate some.

And thus we also ordered for him a child’s version of spaghetti and meatball, for the twins fried shrimp with fries (mmm, good for the tank-people), and a shrimp and angelhair for the girl. My wife and I would split a Caesar salad, $17, SO YOU’D THINK IT WOULD BE EDIBLE BUT IT WASN’T, JUST BIG, NASTY…sorry about the all caps.

I knew the twins wouldn’t eat theirs, and they didn’t, and so I had a taste of everything, and everything was awful. The salad was a whole giant plate of lettuce with some indescribable cheese and greasy shit all over it. But at least it was big. It was an entire giant plate of this horrible mess, too much for two people, or three.

The kids’ spaghetti and meatball looked weirdish, like a mountain of pasta with a red pimple on top, which turned out to be the meatball, not more offensive than a Costco meatball but not any better, and the tomato sauce — so, so weird. Poor Rick had to offer something like a hard cheese to grate ever it. I’m sure he knew better, as in what is this horrible stuff, but he had no choice.

My beautiful daughter had shrimp scampi on angel hair, which was no more angel hair than the spaghetti/meatball mountain that the poor underpaid Mexicans in the back had prepped for anything and everything else. And the shrimp was cooked to a dry-ish god knows what. It’s hard to ruin shrimp, but I’ve seen it done a couple times, and this was the best/worst I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot. I saw a beautiful Italian break out in tears once because she was hungry and the restaurant overcooked the shrimp (cocktail), but this was worse. My daughter wouldn’t eat them, and we packed it all up, to be thrown away the next day.

Twin boy had fried (over-fried) shrimp battered in panko with ketchup or whitish sauce. There were about a dozen — I ate three, he ate four, and the rest are in the motel reefer to be eaten tomorrow or thrown into the swamp behind us. How recherché.

I’m a bit of a foodie. I once tried to make tortelli di zucca ( too drunk, and no idea how they ought to taste, and the pasta was awful) and the first time I tried to make pesto I used dried basil (the woman involved blanched and went home and despaired of me, thank god). But not a snob, I hope. Anything at least tried at, and honest I’ll try to swallow, but the whole 20-minute wait for this awful stuff. The overworked Rick (or whatever), I gave him 20. I don’t mind a mistake, but the actual corporate horror of this pissed me off. The kids like the cheesecake, but we took it away and it was slimy, disgusting. I wish I’d taken the Indian and the guilt. No one would have been wiser, and I wouldn’t have written this.

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Comments
12

Wow! How many more offensive things can you add to this story?? LOVE The Cheesecake Factory! And in case you feel the urge for more name calling on my part, I'm 5'4", 132 lbs.

July 8, 2016

Ewww, looks like something the cat threw up!

July 8, 2016

I object: do we need to read this shit? Gross imagery and offensive language from beginning to end. I hope it's not a sign of the times at the Reader.

July 8, 2016

I think if we were young and in school again, we'd hear worse language on the playground! ;-)

July 8, 2016

But do we need to read it in Reader restaurant reviews? I am profane from time to time -- okay, from minute to minute -- but it doesn't mean I publish what I say so everyone else can be offended by it. Are there no editorial standards and practices at the Reader? Or do we have to be crude and rude to prove our hip youthful mettle? (Wink-wink yourself, dwbat.) One thing's for sure: the Cheescake Factory will not be advertising in the Reader.

July 8, 2016

Well, I never write reviews, but I support the policy of letting a reviewer express strong, personal points of view. It's a tradition at publications that goes back for decades, if not centuries. The Reader does the same. And I've never been to a Cheesecake Factory.

July 10, 2016

Well, I've never been there either, but I know people who like this place and this "review" manages to offend everybody regardless of patronage. It is NOT a "tradition" at reputable publications -- quite the contrary -- and it will be unfortunate if the Reader is heading toward what you whitewash as "strong personal points of view" found in other journals that do not depend on advertisers. It is ludicrous to invoke free expression here, but okay, I'll buy it: freedom to choose what you read and where you advertise go along with it.

July 10, 2016

I don't think the Reader owner is going to lose any sleep over this. The Reader has been around since the 1970s, and has been criticized by some readers (esp. business owners and politicians) ever since over various articles. That will continue, as will the Reader. It's called free press.

July 11, 2016

Agree, horrid article, actually it is the worst piece of shit I have ever read.

July 8, 2016

Whenever you go to a restaurant that has 'double-doors' you have found the fat factory. Those double doors are not to comply with ADA. They are for people who can't fit through a single door. They are for those same people when they return years later in a walker, wheelchair or 'Hoveround.' They never learn. A salad at that dump can contain 1600 calories. The place is not healthy. It's processed (frozen) food from Sysco (don't believe me, look it up). There is no rant that can rain down enough hate on that artery clogging establishment.

I ate there once a couple decades ago. I never returned. And if you like cheesecake, just eat a pound of cream cheese and chase it with a cup of sugar. Same thing.

July 8, 2016

Wow what a self-important, conceited, whiny, yuppie slob.

July 8, 2016

Like all reviews, it's one person's opinion. That's all. Nothing to get excited about.

July 11, 2016

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