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Old School Last Night @ the Dal Rae in Pico Rivera

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We had to be out in the area for my wife's business so took the opportunity to have dinner at the Dal Rae. A classic 1950's Steak and Continental Dishes type of place that reminds me of one of the same types of places I used to eat at in the SFV; Tail 'O the Cock in Sherman Oaks / Studio City. Almost all large comfortable booths that explains why the Naughahyde herds are almost extinct in the world and a chalet like feeling with lots of beautiful big wooden beams and a subdued lighting with waiters and waitresses dressed in very natty duds. The lounge had live music and singers doing standards from the 50's as well. I think I heard someone doing an imitation of Bobby Troupe in there.

The relish tray and bread basket appears. The relish tray overflowing with everything from quartered dill pickles to at least two different types of (mild) peppers to radishes to carrot sticks to celery. Bread is fine too, although the sourdough needs to a bit more sour to really hit my taste buttons.

A kamikaze up was in a huge glass and perfectly made. They certainly don't short you on your cocktail.

My wife decided on the lobster Thermidor and I had the bone-in prime grade rib eye steak, medium rare. All dinners come with vegetable (in this case French style thin green beans) and choice of potato or rice. We both got baked potatoes with the normal heart stopping ingredients that come when you use the term "loaded" at places like this.

Service was impeccable and the food was very good for what it is...and since these types of places appeal to my sense of nostalgia I came away very happy and full.

I'll close by saying, since I didn't know what time we were going to getting to the restaurant I figured it would be late enough that we could walk right in. And while that was true, they were going great business last night. Lots of diners there when we arrived about 8:40 PM, and still a fare amount there when we left a bit before 10. I think they close at 10. Nice to see them doing so well.

If you want a bit of a "time warp" dining experience I can't recommend the Dal Rae strongly enough.

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Dal Rae
9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

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  1. Thanks for the review, Serv. I've been wanting to go to the Dal Rae for years but haven't gotten around to it. There's a lot to be said about the old style traditional restaurants.

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    Dal Rae
    9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

    1 Reply
    1. re: Baron

      It's the type of place that, if you like that style of food, will leave you feeling like you were well taken care of by the staff in a friendly, professional, very unpretentious manner. Comfortable, yet festive - I came away feeling very satisfied (from soup to nuts, as it were). Lots of folks having birthdays scattered about the room. The table next to us was having one of their "table side" crepe desserts and the flambe portion of the presentation was impressive, to say the least. I could feel the heat from where I was sitting...

    2. I think you nailed it with "nostalgia".

      Banana Flambé ... that's the only reason I would go to Dal Rae.

      Same is true with The Derby in Arcadia. I go there for the Baked Alaska, and really nothing else.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I think that's a little harsh. I mean, if you want to have a nice steak dinner they certainly can provide that. They also do a terrific prime rib dinner option. The quality of my rib eye ($38 or so IIRC) was terrific. I was tempted to try the duck a la orange, but played it safe. And the ambiance is soothing. If you are looking to unwind after a tough day this would be an excellent place to do so.

        1. re: Servorg

          I've only been to the Dal Rae once but based on that visit your review was spot on. What they do, they do very, very well. I think it is better to go to a place like that who has their act together rather than many of these more trendy places that overreach and fail, and charge you for being trendy.

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          Dal Rae
          9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

          1. re: Servorg

            I don't think I was trying to knock Dal Rae (or even The Derby).

            What I was trying to say is I would not go to Dal Rae for the steaks or the seafood, which isn't to say necessarily that the food is "bad" there. Just saying that what I would go to Dal Rae for *is* the Banana Flambe.

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            Dal Rae
            9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Gotcha.. thanks for clarifying!

        2. Hi Servorg,

          Great review as usual. :) Sounds like a lovely evening, and it reminded of a place I still need to visit one of these days. Thanks. :)

          1. Several months back I too went to the Dal for my first visit. A friend living in Pico needed a birthday celebratory dinner, and this place won the debate as to where to get caught up and of course eat well.
            Your review was exactly my experience. I too had the prime rib, choosing to keep it simple, and was glad I did.
            The quality is not unlike Taylor's for Steaks in K-town or La Canada, yet prices are a bit higher. Place was very busy. It is the only place in that region for a nice evening out, and virtually everyone knows it.
            Would not rush back, yet when in that area....

            1. Nothing has changed in the past eight years, and i am guessing in the forty before then:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5057...

              And from a post I made after a visit seven years ago:

              "What a great experience. Subdued lighting, cozy booths, attentive but unobtrusive service. Spied the middle aged gent in a booth with a young bimbo, and in another booth the older white haired, white bearded gentleman with his lady all dolled up, he in an elegant black suit, she in beautiful black dress and black hat. All we needed was for Phillip Marlowe to show up."

              Truly old school ambiance.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ChinoWayne

                "...and in another booth the older white haired, white bearded gentleman with his lady all dolled up..."

                Hey, I'll have you know that my hair and beard are "platinum blond" and I think they make me look very extinguished...err distinguished! ;-D>

                1. re: Servorg

                  I beg your pardon, Servorg, but I resemble that remark!

                  I'm also a fan of the Dal Rae. Their pepper steak, frog’s legs, abalone and crab cakes are big draws for me, not to mention their excellent Caesar salad prepared tableside, usually by the owner himself. His humorous stories alone are worth the price of admission.

                  Funny thing, I first visited DR in the late ‘70’s. My visits have been relatively infrequent until the last three years during which time I’ve gone several times each year. Hmmh, it must be the hair thing.

                  Nice review. Thanks for the reminder; it’s that time again.

                  p.s. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a NAUGA too. (^_^)

                  http://www.naugahyde.com/promoitems_n...

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                  Dal Rae
                  9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

              2. reading all of this...Del Rae reminds me of Taylors in Koreatown.
                would you all say they are about the same in atmosphere (minus the lounge) and food quality?

                1 Reply
                1. re: samtron608

                  The thing about Taylor's on 8th is the steak quality is not that good. Certainly I don't recall having a steak there that was the quality of the rib eye I had last night. Although the other side of that coin is, less coin for the Taylor's steaks...

                2. Servorg

                  You've brought back memories. I too went to Tail O' the Cock as a kid and you're right Dal Rae is very much like it. Good food good times. Yeah an actual relish tray :-)

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                  Dal Rae
                  9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

                  1. I've been twice. Once was on Valentine's Day. It was a lot of fun and the food was good but it was complete and total pandemonium. Not a bad thing but I wanted to go back on a quieter evening. When I returned with a friend, we had a truly wonderful evening. Excellent - seriously excellent - food, great service and I just LOVE the atmosphere. Great steaks of course but everything else was terrific, including delicious Oysters Rockefeller. I'll always return, it is worth the 'trip to Pico'!

                    1. I have been interested in going here for a while. How was the temperature of the steak? For example: Taylors seems to consistently overcook (sort of an old school squeamish American temperature akin to vanity sizing.) I.e. medium rare (my ideal temp) is warm red center, but Taylors, and most steakhouses of it's quality, typically serve a medium rare with a pink center all the way through.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: cls

                        I often times will order my steak rare to avoid that issue, but then you run the risk of getting a "cold blue" center - which is not to my liking. This was a little past medium rare, but such a beautifully aged prime grade rib eye that it made up for the slight overcook by being extremely well marbled and juicy with nothing but gorgeous meat, and with just a little nicely charred fat on the edge for flavor. It had no gristle or anything else I needed to cut away and discard. They did a really nice trimming of the steak.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Unless I'm at Bern's in Tampa, I generally order my steak "on the rare side of medium-rare," which gets the kitchen paying closer attention and usually results in something close to real medium-rare. I haven't been to Dal Rae since Mrs. Lincoln had that bad night at the theater, but your review and this discussion have made me realize it's been too long. P.S. I agree about Taylor's, which has great atmosphere but tough steaks.

                          1. re: hnsbmg

                            Yeah, we need a new level of steak preparation instruction...maybe rare-medium-rare? It's just a long way out to Pico Rivera for us. I'm sure we would go more frequently otherwise. The Dal Rae is one of those places that you go in and you know you will have a nice evening. A great place to get a mild buzz on and eat beef. It's a time machine masquerading as a restaurant.

                            1. re: hnsbmg

                              My typical steak anywhere is a petite filet, and at Taylor's, ordering it "on the rare side of medium rare" as I do, it is not tough at all, and perfectly to my liking.
                              I also prefer the ambiance at Taylor's over the Dal, in that their seating layout makes for a more personal feeling, as opposed to sitting in one very large room, a la the Dal, or Lawry's for that matter, meaning their main dining room.

                              1. re: carter

                                The Dal breaks up the room pretty effectively I thought with dividers in between the booths into several groupings, so it really doesn't look for feel like one big room.

                              2. re: hnsbmg

                                My wife orders like that. Too much energy for me, so unless it's a better steakhouse I usually order rare and take my chances. I would prefer places that specialize in steak know how to cook medium rare though.

                          2. The next time you go to
                            Dal

                            The next time you go to Dal Rae, you must have the Chilean Seabass a la Ben. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. It melts in your mouth and you're in awe with every bite. The sauce, the sauce, the sauce! Just thinking about it I'm starting to crave it.

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                            Dal Rae
                            9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: TustinTwin

                              I've been going for years now to the Dal Rae for my birthday and the two pound Australian lobster tail. Heaven on a plate. We also go with a crowd in mid-September when they celebrate their anniversary and offer a special of either prime rib or salmon and sometimes a white fish selection. The price for this event is $19.95 and worth every penny and then some. They also offer lunch specials for $22.00 which includes an appetizer, main course and desert. Then again, worth it. This year we had a big crowd and went to their Super Bowl party. Other than it being too crowded and it was hard to concentrate on the game for the noise level, the buffet they offered was over the top. No skimping. They had oyster on the half shell, fresh shrimp, many different appetizer offerings, main entrees and deserts. If I remember correctly this was all for $20. They also do a very good lemon drop. Pricey tho'. I'm glad we don't live too far away. We like it!!!!

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                              Dal Rae
                              9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

                              1. re: TustinTwin

                                The 'a la Ben' sauce on fish is FANTASTIC. Just a lovely, sweet (carmelized onions) and mellow sauce. I've had it with the seabass, and during their 'dine la' program a couple years back it was served with 'whitefish'...really really excellent.

                                By the way, they will be celebratiny their 51st anniversary with a $20 dinner special, Sept. 15-18th, for those who have been wanting to try it, might be a good time to try it. Dal Rae has a note about it at the bottom of their lisitng on Open Table.

                                http://www.opentable.com/dal-rae

                              2. I'm glad that you enjoyed the experience. I often recommend the Dal Rae on this board, and I think sometimes think that people look down on it. as old fashioned. I like the atmosphere, food and the experience. I have never had a bad meal here. I like it that we can get dressed upand feel comfortable, where there aren't too many places these days.
                                It is a little pricey, but it is well worth it.
                                I really don't compare the Dal Rae to Taylor's. I like them both, but Taylors is strictly a steak house, and I always get good service and food. I think the Dal Rae is another level, their menu is much more extensive, and they are very big on service.

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                                Dal Rae
                                9023 E. Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, CA 90660

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: paprkutr

                                  It always confuses me why in the realm of dining people are apt to look down on things that aren't cutting edge. When I buy a nice suit, I want something by Brooks Brothers or a similar maker who hasn't changed much in 100 years but produces timeless, durable goods. For me food is the same. I don't need some molecular sauce and $100k of architectural work to feel like I'm getting my money's worth. If the ingredients are top notch, the cooking well trained and precise, and the service attentive what more do you want?

                                2. I love this place. I love the made-tableside offerings, so it's almost always the Caesar, Steak Diane and cherries jubilee for my group.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: martyR

                                    That sounds like my standard meal at Chasen's as a kid! Oh for tableside prep! Tommy RIP