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Pacific Dining Car - Never Again

jaydee Dec 20, 2007 09:41 PM

I haven't posted in awhile, but I had to vent about this place. Back in 2005, I took my Dad to Father's Day brunch at the Downtown location of PDC and was astoundingly underwhelmed. I however, thought that was due largely in part to the fact that we ordered off of the 24 hour breakfast menu. Fast forward to 2007 and I offered to take my friend out to a restaurant of his choice for the holidays - and when he said PDC, I had a hunch to advise otherwise, but hey it's his gift right?

For the price, this place sucks. The steaks, advertised as prime, were as thin and ordinary as the $4.99 Whiskey Pete's specials at the California/Nevada Stateline. I ordered the hashbrowns, and out came undercooked breakfast potatoes that I ended up drowning in some weird ketchup concoction provided. God forbid if anyone orders their steak beyond rare, because you'll be eating shoe leather. I was trying hard to figure out where my $$$ was going for this 35 buck ribeye, was it for the novelty of dining in a renovated train car? Holy God, I'll listen to corporate rock and pretend I'm in Australia, in order to have a steak just as good and 28% cheaper at my local Outback. If you ever go into Pane e Vino on Beverly and get the Italian ribeye there, it's $28 bucks or so, and you get a vegetable and tuscan beans on the side. On top of that, the cut is "Flintstones-brontosaurus-sized" and is just wonderful (Mr. Grub, I am eternally grateful for your recommendation years ago). Thinking of how we could have had such a better meal there, made every gagging bite at PDC that much harder to take.

So aside from never closing, this place - in my eyes - has nothing going for it. So unless it's 3AM and you're drunk from a night out at a nearby Downtown watering hole or had a nice night out at a K-Town massage parlor and are feeling a bit hungry - you're better off just going to bed and waking up and finding a better meal during normal business hours.

There - DONE.

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

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  1. a
    antob RE: jaydee Dec 20, 2007 10:47 PM

    I'm with you. You can get a much better ribeye at Sizzler for half the price.

    1 Reply
    1. re: antob
      katkoupai RE: antob Jul 19, 2008 11:20 AM

      I tried a baked potato and a Caesar salad at PDC in Santa Monica and have a similar opinion. The food was okay but overpriced. I like the baked potatoes at Sizzler and the tossed salads and Souplantation better. The ambiance was a bit archaic, but the service was excellent. The waiters were very attentive, polite and friendly.

    2. justanotherpenguin RE: jaydee Dec 20, 2007 11:24 PM

      i absolutely hate to agree, because for many years i was a huge supporter. but you are completely correct. i might still go and enjoy the ambience and a drink, but will never order a steak again.

      1. s
        sel RE: jaydee Dec 21, 2007 12:09 AM

        Wow! I haven't been in 4+ years but it was a favorite of my grandparents who took me there from time to time. I think they started going there in the 30's. I always thought that while it was very expensive it was always excellent, both food and service. What a shame!

        1. b
          Burger Boy RE: jaydee Dec 21, 2007 04:17 AM

          I love the breakfast, but I never get the steak, I order the banana walnut pancakes, bacon and potatoes crispy. Always a winner. Sorry your steak was so bad, never fun getting an expensive, tough steak.

          1. b
            BBQ101 RE: jaydee Dec 21, 2007 04:41 AM


            This is a timly post as I was just reading one of J. Golds new articales(link above) about the PDC. Can the truth lie someplace in the middle?

            1 Reply
            1. re: BBQ101
              paulfromla RE: BBQ101 Dec 21, 2007 06:20 AM

              i recently did the santa monica branch of Pacific Dining Car
              steak was not great but totally acceptable - though priced as if it were the best in town, which it is not
              wine list is good though
              service awful
              if i do go back it will be because it's open 24 hours

            2. barcelona RE: jaydee Dec 21, 2007 09:33 AM

              Hi Jaydee,

              The Pacific Dining Car is really a place for regulars ... they don't treat new comers so well....

              2 Replies
              1. re: barcelona
                jaydee RE: barcelona Dec 21, 2007 11:39 AM

                right, when i ordered the steak i mentioned, "oh by the way, this is my second time here. please be sure to keep the good stuff for your regulars, don't bend over backwards on my behalf." i glanced around and most folks had the same cut for the most part. some of the smarter ones (i presume, said regular patrons) were eating NON steak items - c'est la vie.

                i don't mean to be snarky, but your comment has no relevance. the steaks - from what i saw, seemed consistent around the room. while i can agree that regulars tend to appreciate and forgive a place for its charm/failings (hence, why they're regulars), i am not sure that PDC is holding a special stash of bovine for its favorite patrons.

                1. re: barcelona
                  wilafur RE: barcelona Jan 17, 2008 04:07 PM

                  that is asinine......

                2. i
                  icecreaminbed RE: jaydee Dec 21, 2007 09:54 AM

                  I'm with you. We took our son there for his graduation. He wanted an "old-fashioned" steak house. It was INSANELY expensive for what we got. Your review was perfectly in line with our experience. Not to mention, that we arrived, the place was empty ( not a good sign) and continued to be empty and they still argued with me if we had a reservation. Never again. Never. Never. Never. Never.

                  1. rednyellow RE: jaydee Dec 21, 2007 10:04 AM

                    What a drag. PDC is one of my favs and I always have a great steak there. I hope you spoke to the management.

                    1. sbritchky RE: jaydee Dec 21, 2007 03:56 PM

                      You say "God forbid if anyone orders their steak beyond rare" -- how did you order yours? Aside from the fact that you hated it, was the meat cooked to specification?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sbritchky
                        jaydee RE: sbritchky Dec 21, 2007 04:58 PM

                        rare. my comment was to say that the steaks are so thin, that if you order any where beyond rare, your steak is basically well done.

                      2. h
                        Hackenbush RE: jaydee Dec 21, 2007 09:41 PM

                        I had a terrible experience once at the Santa Monica P.D.C. I wrote about it in this post...


                        It caused me to reassess my past loyalty to Pacific Dining Car. I decided there were plenty of places to get a better steak for the same money or even less.

                        1. h
                          Hollis Greene RE: jaydee Dec 22, 2007 07:20 AM

                          PDC is all about the breakfast items (non-steak breakfast items, that is). I've personally never had a problem down there.

                          1. SilverlakeGirl RE: jaydee Dec 22, 2007 06:27 PM

                            Go for breakfast. Excellent.

                            I have found the rest of the menu uneven and overpriced. But the breakfast is sublime.

                            1. afs RE: jaydee Dec 27, 2007 10:01 AM

                              For the price and service I too will never go back especially when Taylor's is just a short drive away. The out of towners love taylor's too.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: afs
                                AuntieCarol RE: afs Jan 17, 2008 03:26 PM

                                Anyone - I'm from the high desert. Is Taylor's a great place to take guests from out of state?

                                1. re: AuntieCarol
                                  aurora50 RE: AuntieCarol Jan 17, 2008 03:43 PM

                                  I like Taylor's a lot. Old school-style steakhouse. There's one in La Canada Flintridge (kind of north of Pasadena), and another in downtown L.A. The one in L.A. is in a kind of seedy area, coming from your area, I would take them to the one in La Canada.
                                  They have a great "sizzling steak" on a platter.

                                  1. re: aurora50
                                    afs RE: aurora50 Jan 18, 2008 08:32 AM

                                    C'mon seedy area??? The original Taylor's has been there for ever and Korea town simply happen to grow around it, It's hardly seedy. The staff at the Taylor's on 8th are top notch and has a great crowd every time.
                                    The La Canada Taylor's as the staff will even admit is a different vibe slightly different menu, smaller and rather low key.
                                    Just not the same unless you try the original Taylor's, all steak selctions are tasty and prices are from another time long ago.
                                    Seedy area ??? You must get out more often.

                                    1. re: afs
                                      aurora50 RE: afs Jan 18, 2008 08:48 AM

                                      I've traveled to several large towns: New York, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Dublin, London.
                                      And I stand by my original statement.
                                      And, for the record, I do like the original Taylor's as well.

                                      1. re: aurora50
                                        Lmo1823 RE: aurora50 Jan 20, 2008 07:29 PM

                                        Love Taylors. Everyone I take there loves it too. You can't beat the steaks and you certainly can't beat that price. Get the Molly salad!

                                    2. re: aurora50
                                      Mr Taster RE: aurora50 Jan 21, 2008 09:14 AM

                                      I grew up in the tree-lined streets of central New Jersey suburbs and went to school in central Missouri. At that point I had visited some big cities too (New York, Philly, Paris)... but only for a visit. Having come from that perspective, when I came to LA at 23 years old, I thought Koreatown was seedy too.

                                      Now that I've lived in the city for over 11 years, explored the city thoroughly, and eaten local food in almost every nook and cranny, I feel very comfortable telling you that while the neighborhood in which Taylor's does not have the polished strip malls of Newport Beach or the lovely tree-lined streets where I grew up, it's not seedy, either.

                                      Mr Taster

                                    3. re: AuntieCarol
                                      Foodandwine RE: AuntieCarol Jan 21, 2008 09:46 AM

                                      I have always enjoyed Taylors and prefer the Los Angeles location. Great spot to dine before an event at Staples Center. However the Baseball Steak ( 2 cuts per steer) may be flavorful but its not tender. I would go for the Ribeye or Filet. And look over their Daily Specials too. The London Broil is mighty good and a great deal to boot!

                                      Taylor's Steakhouse
                                      3361 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                    4. re: afs
                                      Iceman RE: afs Jul 19, 2008 12:54 PM

                                      Sorry to disagree, but I've always had good luck with the steaks at the PDC in Santa Monica. I don't think Taylor is any where close to being in the same league. Maybe dollar for dollar it's better value, but I'll go with the PDC steaks any day.

                                      My favorite comment about Taylor's was a few years ago someone wrote that the waiter boasted there were only two "culotte steaks" on the cattle, cut form the top sirloin; they also have two ears as well but you might not want to eat them...

                                    5. w
                                      woofer RE: jaydee Jan 20, 2008 08:00 PM

                                      only good for breakfast

                                      1. f
                                        foufou RE: jaydee Jul 23, 2008 03:42 AM

                                        Unimpressed by PDC after two visits.....thank God those were expense account meals. Would not go back on my own nickle

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