By Santi Cardona
I’ve been to quite a few Grand Lux Cafes in the past, and they never disappoint. For those that don’t know, Grand Lux Cafe is a sister concept to the Cheesecake Factory empire that boasts many similarities. Essentially, Grand Lux Cafe has the menu size, consistency, and execution of a Cheesecake Factory with more culturally-diverse food options and a slightly more upscale ambiance. South Florida has three locations (all at large malls), but I was lucky enough to try the one at Aventura Mall (19575 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura).
Menu highlights: I’m a sucker for anything and everything pastrami, so getting the Pastrami Reuben Eggrolls was a no brainer. You essentially get all the deliciousness of a classic reuben sandwich (pastrami, swiss, sauerkraut, mustard) wrapped in a wonton and fried. I will say, it was a pretty heavy way to start the meal, but you know what they say, “go big or go home.”
One of my favorite aspects pertaining to Grand Lux Cafe is the diverse menu. It has enough options that will cater to anyone. I was slightly surprised to find an attempt at an Indian-inspired dish called the Indochine Shrimp and Chicken. My curiosity got the best of me, and I’m happy to say that the dish was a total hit. While I wouldn’t say that the food was 100% authentic, it managed to hit all the notes that you would expect to come out of a curry. The slight heat and subtle sweetness made this dish something I would order again if I were to come back to a Grand Lux.
Standout dishes: I’m going to have to call a tie on standout dish. In honor of National Grilled Cheese Day, my first favorite was the Short Rib Grilled Cheese. This sandwich definitely wasn’t lacking in the short rib department, and offered that comfort-food feeling that can only be achieved when something so simple is executed so well.
My other favorite was the Beignets, served with three sauces. You have to order this dish around 30 minutes before you expect it to come out, so it’s making a commitment. As the 7-8 massive beignet puffs are placed in front of you though, you realize that this commitment is totally worth it. The beignets were light as air and incredibly satisfying. I can feel confident saying that these were just as good as something that you’d expect in New Orleans.
Are we boozing? Technically you can booze at Grand Lux Cafe, as they have a pretty wide selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. But, if you’re at the mall in the middle of the day, maybe wait until next time.
Check this place out if you like: the Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake Factory is known for its consistency and large menu, and Grand Lux Cafe is no different. I would consider Grand Lux to be a grown up, more cultured and traveled version of Cheesecake Factory, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Santi’s take: Nothing is better after a day of shopping that consistent and satisfying food. If I’m in Aventura or Sawgrass Mills, Grand Lux is my go-to. One thing is for sure, I will never come here and not order those beignets.