Monday, January 21, 2008

LA Dining: Pacific Dining Car

I always make it a point to stop in at the original Pacific Dining Car located downtown in Los Angeles when I am in town. While I am always on a quest for new experiences PDC is such a delight that I can't help but visit it. You can read my prior post here.

I have eaten at PDC on numerous occasions and have had a chance to try almost all of the cuts on the menu. One steak that had thus far eluded me was the "baseball" steak, a massive hunk of sirloin, a cut that you don't see on too many steakhouse menus because it tends to be a bit tougher than porterhouses, strips and rib eyes. However, when taken from prime steer, dry aged and cooked with care it can be every bit as wonderful as other steaks. And this is exactly what PDC does. The steak is juicy and deeply flavorful with that unmistakable musky tang that dry aging imparts. It is also massive, probably big enough to share. Coincidentally I ate a sirloin at Keens Steakhouse in NYC only a week before but this was a Japanese Kobe sirloin that cost $150. The PDC steak, while fittingly falling short of the Kobe in terms of tenderness and succulence, never the less held its own in terms of boldness of flavor and it did have that wonderful dry aged tang that Kobe does not have as the latter is wet aged. And the PDC sirloin is a third of the price and three times the size of the Kobe variety.

The steaks at PDC are grilled over mesquite. As I noted in my original review I was initially a bit weary that the mesquite would over power the beef but this is not a problem.. The subtle sweetness imparted by the smoke is delicious. The appetizers and sides at PDC are also excellent. While not the equal of the cuisine at Cut it is definitely well above most other steakhouses. A new addition to the menu since my visit here last year was a delectable beet salad with goat cheese. I have eaten a lot of beet salads lately as it seems to be quite a popular menu item and this one was as good as any I have had.

The interior of PDC is simply charming and very plush. Because PDC started off life, as its name implies, as a train car it its expansion created a rabbit warren like structure of interconnecting rooms. Despite the fact that this is a steakhouse it feels more like a tea room.

In addition to the wonderful steaks, which are available 24 hours a day, PDC serves up a magnificent breakfast as well as an afternoon tea with scones and sandwiches. I am sure the latter is unique amongst steakhouses in the US, or maybe anywhere but for the Ex Pat from the UK it is most welcome. In addition to the wonderful cuisine PDC has some of the most professional, polite and effusive service imaginable. It also boasts an impressive wine cellar. Highly recommended.

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

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