I’ve continued to eat at The Cheesecake Factory since I became gluten-free seven years ago. I have found that if I stick to fairly simple meals (plain salmon, brown rice and steamed veggies), most restaurants can handle it (most.…is the key word). I have never once became sick at the Cheesecake Factory after eating the plain salmon meal. So, I was very intrigued when I saw that they now have an official gluten-free menu. Needless to say, I rushed over. How exciting! It’s a totally independent menu. Nice!
There were many of their older dishes on this new GF menu which must have been naturally gluten-free to begin with. The new items that jumped out at me were the gluten-free hamburger buns and gluten-free pasta. Of course, I had a bunch of questions to ask. I’ve listed them below with my waiter’s response.
Do you use dedicated oil for the French fries listed on your gluten-free menu? No. I then went on to ask why they would go through the effort of introducing this menu without doing it correctly. Despite my attack on their procedure, he was very nice and was eager to learn and help me.
Do you use dedicated water for your GF pasta? Yes (continue reading for the real deal on this).
What is the flour blend for the pasta? I don’t know but I will bring you the package. It turns out is Heartland brand which is a rice and corn blend.
What is the brand of your GF hamburger buns? I’m not sure but I’ll check….(later) It’s Udi’s.
Are your salad dressing gluten-free? Most of them (so please ask when ordering).
Do you use GF blue cheese? (The manager came over to answer this one)…Yes.
Do you have GF beer? No, but we do have Angry Orchard Hard Cider (YUM)
I notice your Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake is gluten-free. Has it always been gluten-free? No…we were told it was in the past but then we discovered there was gluten (wheat flour) in the crust (SCARY). It has now been revamped to be gluten-free.
I decided to try something new to me so I ordered the pear and candied pecan salad with goat cheese (below). This has been on the original menu for some time.
The salad was pretty but I did not enjoy the taste. It did, however, not make me sick. I decided to order the pasta to go for Sammy (below).
Much to my dismay when I got home and served Sammy some pasta, look what I found (see below)…I have to assume this is a wheat flour noodle since they mentioned nothing of a second type of GF pasta. Since they told me they use dedicated GF pasta water, I am assuming this came from a shared colander or they do not indeed use dedicated water…either way, this was a serious mistake. I absolutely would not consider the GF pasta here at The Cheesecake Factory a “celiac friendly” meal or for anyone else eating GF for that matter. It also makes me wonder about their other GF procedures as well.
Of course, I had to try the GF Godiva chocolate cheesecake for dessert even though it has dairy. I had only a few bites (scrapping away the whipped cream) and it was chocolate heaven…cheesecake is something they do well.
Will I be back? Yes, on occasion I will go back when my older kids want to go. I will order my usual, plain salmon with brown rice and veggies. I will have Sammy order the hamburger since there are probably fewer ways to mess that up. So for me, nothing has changed at The Cheesecake Factory. For Sammy, well, now he gets to have a bun with his hamburger. It’s really not a big thrill for him since he’s been raised since two years old to just eat the meat of the hamburger. I’m sad that yet another major restaurant chain has jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon without doing their research and training both the kitchen and wait staff properly. I’m hoping there will be enough complaints that they will correct this. This restaurant review gets a “thumbs down.”