The Cheesecake Factory – Novi, Michigan
Let’s see if we’ve got our facts straight about The Cheesecake Factory in Novi, Michigan. It’s in a mall? It’s a chain? Their menu is sixteen pages thick and features multiple ethnic cuisines? And it’s amazing?!? It all sounds so unlikely, but the answer to all of the above is a resounding,”YES”. Just don’t ask, “Can I get a table?”, ‘cuz now you’re lookin’ at a very likely, “NO”. Our first visit to last year’s most talked about restaurant in Southeast Michigan was made possible purely by a mammoth stroke of dumb luck. Not more than ten minutes after we walked in the door of their location at Twelve Oaks Mall (27679 Novi Road) and weaved our way through, we kid you not, approximately 60 people waiting up to two and a half hours, we spotted two open bar seats with our names plastered upon them. Apparently the Gods were on our side this fine day, as we were the only folks nearby with the good sense to snap ’em up. On busier days these two stools might’ve been the basis for a fistfight. Seriously. We’ve been back twice since, and failed to get a table both times, opting out of the wait when we were informed it could easily be up to three hours! Be aware, people: they don’t take reservations and you’re more likely to win the Powerball than you are to get a seat without waiting here. Should you choose to endure it, however, we give our word: you will love it. Honestly, who among you has EVER been to another restaurant that prepares completely unrelated ethnic cuisines to near perfection? We dare say none of ya. So, when you finally get that elusive table, here are our top recommendations…..
First indulge in a hearty sampling of their first-rate bread service which features an intensely flavorful rye, a chewy, crusty baguette and the obligatory dollop of creamy, whipped butter. As an appetizer consider the Stuffed Mushrooms which we found rich, smoky and succulent, but sadly, far less than photogenic. Another excellent starter, the Chicken Pot Stickers, also left us super-impressed, and in our opinion came off as authentically Asian as any local dining destination that specializes in nothing but. The Pasta Carbonara was easily as good as any similar dish prepared by local Italian experts at Andiamo, Roma Café, or Giovanni’s, but our meal’s pièce de résistance was the Southern Fried Catfish. Three times we’ve visited New Orleans in the last four years and we are not over-billing our dish one bit when we tell you, readers, that our Southern Fried Catfish dinner at The Cheesecake Factory of Novi was as good or better than any single catfish preparation we enjoyed in all of our time in The Big Easy, which, in case you don’t know, is widely considered to be the very epicenter of deliciousness where Southern foodie traditions are concerned. Pair any of these delectable dishes with a choice from The Cheesecake Factory’s lengthy roster of custom imbibables, which includes five uniquely flavored Mojito-like concoctions. Finally, don’t leave without dessert. Having sacrificed the hours necessary to win this overstuffed joint’s table sweepstakes, you are absolutely obligated to finish it all off with a decadent, whopping slice of the delicacy they had the good sense to name themselves after, cheesecake. If you’re so inclined, follow our lead and order a wedge of the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle. You will not be disappointed. But don’t let us make up your mind. Try just about any variety they’re offering. We’re willing to bet big it’ll be divine. ~I♥DM
[Editor’s Note: Two more successful visits to The Cheesecake Factory of Novi in the Spring and Summer of 2014 obligate us to share here with you, our readers, just a couple more observations that will likely improve the overall quality of your experience. First, we’ve learned that getting a table here is a much more painless process if you plan your meal around peak dining hours. On both aforementioned occasions we arrived between 2 and 3 pm and suffered little to no wait at all. For similar results, we recommend you do the same. Second, don’t hesitate to try any of the six unique and exceptional dishes we sampled during our subsequent visits: Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes, Crispy Cuban Rolls, Beef Kebabs, Chicken Samosas, Crusted Chicken Romano and The Everything Pizza. We heartily endorse them all.]