On the Editor’s Letter page in Food and Wine magazine, Dana Cowin always includes a sidebar called “Where I’m Coming From” which outlines the cities she’s recently visited along with restaurants in those cities. I love this idea and I’m going to steal it. I just returned from Los Angeles and tried a new hotel, the Omni and a new restaurant — Pacific Dining Car.
My main work travel companion loves the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He demands we visit these little shit holes — while the food is good, the restaurants are usually just crap. I thought Pacific Dining Car was like this — as he doesn’t really suggest higher end restaurants…he’s very casual. I checked the website on my phone and the first thing that popped up was that the restaurant was open 24-hours. Good God, this can’t be good.
Let me start by saying Pacific Dining Car is not a Diner, a Drive-In nor is it a Dive. It’s a great white table cloth restaurant that just happens to be open 24 hours. The menu is that of a traditional steakhouse (at least at dinner). The waiters are truly professional waiters — not like so many other places in LA, where the waiters are actors who just can’t find acting gigs. Our waiter spoke English, French, Russian and Spanish fluently and a couple other languages not so fluently.
You’ll notice the online menu doesn’t have prices. This place isn’t inexpensive, but it is well worth the price. I had a small Roquefort Steak while one of my colleagues had the Baseball Steak — we loved it. We split a couple sides – the Au Gratin Potatoes were wonderful. Another colleague had the Pecan Pie for dessert and said it was the best he ever had. I opted for a glass of Kopke Port.
It is likely I really enjoyed this place because my expectations were so low — the name and seeing that it was open 24/7 really set the bar low for me. Would I go back next time I’m in Los Angeles — absolutely. If you are Downtown LA and want a truly classic Los Angeles steakhouse, this is where you must go. They’ve also got a location in Santa Monica.
Can’t wait to return!