great average food, good steaks, great service, great place, nice quiet romantic restaurant, really bad first service, great waiters
The Top Steakhouse.
Back in the 1950s, a thick, juicy steak could be found even at the counter of a drugstore, costing about $1.45. Today, a steak is seldom juicy at restaurants--the fat is trimmed, it's "choice" beef or a lower grade, not prime--and the cost of good meat is now high.
The Pacific Dining Car charges a hefty price for something that used to be common but these days can rarely be found: succulent, char-broiled meat.
The prices are reasonable, given the quality.
The only restaurants I know of that serve steaks on a par with those of the Pacific Dining Car are John's Grill in San Francisco and a Japanese restaurant in Hollywood, the Yamashiro, which offers a steak, priced at $68, cooked at a temperature of more than 400 degrees and served on a bed of ancient salts.
The Pacific Dining Car has been outstanding through the years, and, yet, has actually improved in various respects since its longtime top waiter, Nick Lerner, was promoted not long ago to general manager. For years, my wife and I, in entering the restaurant, asked to be seated in Nick's section. With the consummate waiter now in charge, there is no bad service.
In years gone by, I did encounter some dishes that were not of high quality, and realized that this was not a place to go for seafood. That's changed. The sand dabs, in particular, are excellent. The crab cakes, which were once the exception to the rule there as to seafood, were and remain superb.
My favorite dishes are the cajun-spiced prime rib and the rack of lamb.
Last Sunday, my wife and I felt impelled to go to the Pacific Dining Car upon returning to L.A. after encountering dry, unpalatable, over-done hamburgers in Portland and Coeur d'Alene. We craved juicy, thick burgers, and got them. Actually, we had the breadless hamburger steaks, stuffed with onions.
Their lamb burgers, served at lunch, are quite appetizing. Their onion rings--not in the form of rings but more onion than breading--are unsurpassed.
The PDC's own steak relish is a worthy accompaniment to their meats. Another ideal accompaniment to beef is a bloody bull (a bloody mary with beef boullion), and they can make it, and quite well.
Another plus is that conversation is not impeded by the blaring of music (or pounding noise which some would describe as music, and others would not) over a loud-speaker. There is, I was once told, a PA system set up there which has not been utilized for decades. Quiet is pleasant!
I have no knowledge as to the quality of the desserts. I've never had room for them. I do often have a hot chocolate after the meal. That once-common beverage is now rarely found on menus.
The PDC provides old-timers an opportunity to experience, again, good cooking associated with the past and for younger persons to experience food better than they may ever have tasted.
Great Place for quiet dining close to downtown. My husband and I eat at Pacific Dining Car about once every month after the Sunday afternoon concerts at Disney. We don't eat meat but we are mad about their sand dabs. I like to have a cocktail or two before dining and I have always found the help polite and helpful. We are seniors and the fact that this is an old-style restaurant with the sound muted so that you can hear the companions at your table is a plus plus for us. I was shocked to read that some complained of the service. That is the opposite of our experience.. of course we come when it has not gotten busy; however, if I was poorly served I would go to the manager and ask for a change of server...That always works.
Great Los Angeles Spot. Went here for a holiday lunch. Ordered the rib eye, figured i would end up taking half of it home, like I usually do, but nope, I devoured the entire thing, it was so delish. Got a side of asparagus to go with it. And to top it off creme brulee for desert. The whole meal was great. The wait staff was great too, very attentive. I would go back again.
Classic Steakhouse Feel.
I cannot explain how excited I am to live in a city where you can get a perfectly aged and cooked steak 24 hours a day. PLUS if you eat there they have a free shuttle to all the Downtown entertainment venues, pick up and drop off. And its a good place for star sightings.
Donald Sutherland sighting aside, I do want to balance my review with both pros and cons.
Its a steakhouse. Its old school. You don't get hurried out in favor of seating another party. Granted its not usually packed. I never found the wait staff absent or non-attentive, just discreet and unobtruscive. It's one of those places where they seat you, take your order, ask if you need anything else, bring that if it applies, and leave you alone with your date, family, business partner, etc. If you should need service, it isn't hard to flag down someone who can get your waiter to you, or a busboy to refill your water.
Its pricey. Don't expect to come here and spend less than $50 a person. its a steakhouse. Its a good steakhouse that dry ages their prime beef. You're getting what you pay for. Its a special dinner kinda place. Its not your weeknight dinner kinda place.
Their breakfast is good. I'd skip their afternoon tea though.
I've had the crabcakes and the shrimp with no problems. I have never ordered their fish, mainly because its a steakhouse. I don't order steak at McCormicks, I order seafood there.
Its an old schoo menu. I don't think its changed much. Its not fasionable cuisine. Think Humphrey Bogart...not George Clooney.
Its charming, I'd be sad if it ever closed. Nothing but good memories so far.
I was so disappointed....
I am just retuning from a dinner at the Pacific Dining Car restaurant and was extremely disappointed.
? Our server lacked adequate communication skills. He never made eye contact and was generally creepy. It is very difficult to hear him. He speaks too quietly and you have to ask him to repeat everything.
? If there were specials, we did not hear about them.
? Many of the people at the table had never been before. As we ordered out steaks, he made no mention of the various sauces available. Personally I forgot until the steaks arrived. At which point I asked Alex, because he was the only one around, for sauce which he brought promptly.
? Our waiter served our food. We had asked for a baked potato with everything on it. The potato was served plane?no toppings and no toppings were offered by our waiter. Alex, noticed that the potato had nothing on it as asked if we had ordered a plain baked potato?we said no and he promptly brought the toppings. If that is how things typically work, the waiter should have said, we will be right over with the toppings for your potato.
? Our waiter never checked back with us to see if our food was good, cooked right, etc. We did not see him again until he brought the dessert menus and offered coffee.
? We had to ask that the crumbs be removed at which point the waiter proceeded to swipe them on the floor. Alex did come by a few minutes later to get the rest of the crumb with the proper equipment.
? One of my guest had a gift to open. We had not really decided about dessert yet. As the person started opening the gift?paper half torn off?the waiter came over and said something like, ?Your not having dessert? and picked up all the menu.
I was so disappointed.
Wheel and deal between bites of prime-aged beef at this historic steakhouse..
Open since 1921, this railway car recreation has always been popular with local politicos. A cozy maze of rooms provides plenty of nooks and crannies for plotting and planning over a steak-and-eggs breakfast. Thick, juicy steaks cooked over a mesquite fire are the main attraction. Start with the classic shrimp cocktail, four mondo shrimp with a zesty cocktail sauce, or a garlicky Caesar salad. The gargantuan cowboy steak, a flavorful rib steak, is charred on the outside yet rare inside. The baseball steak (a two-inch-thick cut of top sirloin), Delmonico (bone-in New York strip) and buttery filet mignon are other well-known cuts. Although side dishes merely distract from the sheer joy of red meat, if you must, order the onion rings, thinly sliced and cooked till just droopy, or the overloaded baked potato, dressed tableside with sour cream and chives. And if you have room after all that, try the piping hot souffle--just make sure to order it at the beginning of your feast.
I enjoyed this restaurant in the 70's and 80's before I moved from Los Angeles. Recently I found myself staying overnight downtown. I decided to return to the restaurant for old times sake thinking that L.A. icons like this never change. Big mistake. Our party of three noticed only four other tables occupied where 20 years ago it would have been packed. We thought this a bad omen, but forged ahead anyway.
It sure ain't what it used to be. Price to food value very poor. A wine list with very few bargains, most bottles priced over $100. I ordered a bottle of red. My wife wanted a glass of chardonnay. We had already sent the wine list back, but the waiter suggested the Berringer house chard and we went with it. Should have asked the price. I thought maybe $8.00. Would you believe $23.
The things I do for nostalgia. Never the Pacific Dining Car again.
NIGHTMARE AT PDC!. First service is really bad, have to agree with prevoius post,food was served not the way we ordered and it took ever for our steaks and we spoke to the restaurant general manger he was not helpful or understanding!
GOOD STEAKS!. Steaks here are good but for overall steak and service i prefer the palm in west hollywod here in la area,while service can be slow here at times especially if you dine in the bar area when it is busy,RIP to bartender Rafael.
Horrible place to eat !!!. This is the second time I have attempted to have a decent meal at the Pacific Dining Car with total disappointment. I was always told how great this place was and how large the filets were, but to my dismay, the filet was a basic cut ... nothing spectacular at all. I ordered the filet and lobster and the lobster didn't even come with drawn butter. I agree with another review that I read when the person stated that the waiter was absent for the entire meal because that is exactly what I experienced as well ... in fact, I had to ask if the meal came with bread because after I sat down I sat there for almost 20 minutes before anyone even came to my table. After my total disappointment with the meal that cost me $80.00 w/ tip I then had to pay $4.50 for parking when the parking lot was almost completely empty. What a crock !!! I would be even more upset if my company hadn't paid for the meal and i had to pay for it myself, but I can assure you that noone from my company will ever dine there again and I work for a fortune 100 company .... not recommended and not in this lifetime !!!!!!
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