Friday, June 8, 2007

Pacific Dining Car

New York needs a Pacific Dining Car. It's not that there are not enough steakhouses in NYC, quite the opposite in fact, we actually have way too many tired old places churning out carbon copies of the Peter Luger porterhouse, often served by "former Peter Luger staffers." What Pacific Dining Car offers, aside from a storied history dating back to 1921, a very quaint interior and delicious dry aged prime cooked over Mesquite is that they are open 24 hours a day. Imagine that.

In NYC, ostensibly the City that doesn't sleep, you cannot get a decent steak past 2AM when Wollensky's Grill shutters its doors or before 11.30AM when restaurants open for lunch. In downtown LA you can roll into Pacific Dining Car at any hour and get a masterful and quite unique steak experience. Pacific Dining Car also serves a great breakfast but the regular menu is always available.

As the name implies the restaurant is built around a dining carriage although it is only recognizable on the inside these days. The PDC grew along with the City of Los Angeles itself and just as the architecture downtown is an eclectic amalgam of differing styles, the buildings that sprang up to expand the dining car also look rather hodgepodge. But no matter, the interior is quaint, the service is excellent and the food superb.

The Rib Eye steak with Potato Au Gratin

The beef is USDA Prime steer dry aged for 21 days in house and then cooked of Mesquite hardwood charcoal. I must admit that before I ate here that I was a bit apprehensive about the method of preparation, I assumed that the charcoal would flavor the meat too much but I needn't have worried. While the Mesquite adds a smoky sweetness to the steak it is subtle, not over-powering and it actually compliments the beef flavor wonderfully.

Mesquite hardwood charcoal.

T-bone with creamed spinach

Along with the fairly standard cuts - T bone, NY strip and rib eye steaks PDC also offers a top sirloin steak and a bone in Fillet Mignon. Apart from the steaks the sides and salads are all superb. The creamed spinach is rich and hearty, the potatoes Au Gratin to die for and the Blue cheese salad comes with an incredibly generous helping of Roquefort. The scallops in Lobster sauce were also quite delectable.

Blue Cheese wedge, or in this case a disc.

Roast Beef Hash.

NY Strip with Roquefort Cheese

Scallops sauteed with Lobster sauce

Although there is also a PDC outpost in Santa Monica I have not eaten there, however it too is open 24 hours a day and if it comes even close to the original it is worth a trip. But for a real sense of history the downtown LA location is a must visit. PDC is a classic restaurant with truly great food. This is absolutely one of my favorite steakhouses, if only we had one in NYC.

Pacific Dining Car
1310 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 483-6000

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