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Pacific Dining Car...any comments?

I used to love going to the PDC, but haven't been in years. Just searched on CH and cannot find any posts since 2007! Has anyone been there recently and how was it?

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  1. True to its reputation as an L.A. institution, the food at the Downtown PDC hasn't changed much over the years.

    I like their Filet Oscar. They also have great eggs Benedict. I often go there to break the fast after Easter service, at 3AM (they're open 24/7, as you know). I still like it.

    1. I go every month or so. Still the same. I love it. I usually get Eggs Sardou or Eggs Creole and a sausage patty and a margarita. I can't say enough good about the place. No Culinary pyrotechnics, nothing innovative, just great solid cooking from good ingrediants and flawless professional service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rednyellow

        I just had lunch there today. It was great. I had the open face prime rib sandwich which is a thick cut of prime rib, perfectly cooked med rare on a slice of bread served with a combo of potato and sweet potato fries, au jus and horseradish sauce. My friend had the filet mignon sandwich which is a thick cut of filet on a bun with hamburger lettuce, tomato, onion etc. also served with the same fries. It is still way expensive - that with a couple soft drinks was $77, but for me it is an occasional indulgence that I love. The service is perfect, the room Is comfortable. I like, especially at 6'5", sitting in a comfortable big leather wing back chair. I like having a pepper and salt mill on my table, that my iced tea comes with a lemon half wrapped in cheese cloth to stop the seeds, that it is served in a nice stemmed goblet. I appreciate that the warm bread basket is accompanied by big curls of sweet butter and that the flatware has a nice heft and feel in my hands. I still love the place.

        1. re: New Trial

          Good to know. Love PDC when I get off the redeye from Kona, which arrives @ 5:00 AM

          1. re: maudies5

            At least you will have already had your coffee.

          1. re: sushigirlie

            Based on any particular dish or dishes?

            1. re: mc michael

              Some people like it and some people don't.

              The thing with PDC is that it just doesn't change very much. It's like that old pair of shoes you "discover" in the back of your closet. It was comfy and broken in when you stored it away, and after many years in hibernation not surprisingly it still is its old comfy self.

              In other words, if the OP liked it way back when, then most likely the OP will like it now. And, of course, vice versa.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Generally, I agree with your empathetic point of view, but I have to say that after a number of visits spread out over many years.... things to like include the chocolate covered candy sticks at the entrance; the wine selection and service; the atmosphere; the possibility of running into some heavy hitters in the legal/political world;the very good steak and seafood.
                On the negative side: the prices.
                I speak of the 6th Street location, having only been to Santa Monica twice (and finding it sort of a weak imitation).
                With all that in mind, i wonder what sushigirlie's beef is. Obviously, there is no sushi at PDC.

                1. re: mc michael

                  and part of Training Day filmed there--the trainer told his boy to have a baseball steak while he talked to the LAPD top brass.

                  1. re: mc michael

                    Well, I've only been there once. "Crap" is too strong a word. I thought the food was fine, but there was nothing enjoyable about it. I just ate it to get through the business lunch. The restaurant struck me as similar to Musso and Frank, though the food I ate there was memorably horrendous, whereas the food at Pacific Dining Car was just blah. There are lots of these "old school" restaurants I just despise: Taylor's and Phillipe's, for example.

                    Pacific Dining Car
                    1310 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                    1. re: sushigirlie

                      are there any old school restaurants that you do like?

                      1. re: raizans

                        Can't think of any in LA. I've had pretty good breakfasts at the Pantry. The lunch food has been awful though. I like Little Dom's. It's new, but it feels old school, and more importantly the food doesn't suck. In fact, it's quite good.

                        Little Dom's
                        2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                        1. re: sushigirlie

                          Funny... The only L.A. eatery I'd use the word "crap" to describe would be The Pantry!

                          1. re: J.L.

                            Hard to mess up breakfast. If I were a restauranteur looking for a sure bet, I'd go into the breakfast and brunch business. People would rave and rave about my eggs and :gasp: pancakes.

                            Phillipe's is the only place I've been where the food was inedible. I think breakfast at McDonalds is superior to breakfast at Phillipe's.

                            1. re: sushigirlie

                              I think it's a misnomer to suggest that "breakfast is hard to screw up". That is, unless you have low expectations. It may not be as creative, but technique is easy to screw up.

                              Some places can't poach an egg to save their lives. Hard scrambled eggs are hideous ... they can soft scramble. Is there anything worse than BAD hollandaise sauce or bernaise? So few establishments know how to do either. Even toast has standards of quality as far as I am concerned.

                              The PDC does the classics well. And their bar is top notch IMO. As is their service which really stands out.

                              1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                This is so true and a huge reason why I rarely go out for breakfast. Most restaurants will screw up eggs over medium!!! When did eggs over medium mean a runny yolk?

                                Anyways, the steak at PDC is overpriced and bad. For those prices, the steak should melt in your mouth tender and full of flavor. The two times I've had steak at PDC, they missed on both.

                                The desserts are pretty good and since they are open 24hrs, a perfect spot for after a late game or show.

                                1. re: reality check

                                  Funny. My definition of "eggs over medium" means firm whites and runny yolks.

                                  1. re: maudies5

                                    My definition of "eggs over medium" means firm whites and runny yolks.

                                    Mine too, and just about everybody else's as wel.


                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Me too! I always order eggs over medium and expect (and usually get) fully cooked whites and runny yolks!

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        You're wrong. The yolks should NOT be runny, but a medium consistency-which doesn't mean runny!!

                                        1. re: reality check

                                          Wow! Just curious to know what authority you're quoting in telling the rest of us that we are wrong!

                                          1. re: reality check

                                            You're wrong. The yolks should NOT be runny, but a medium consistency-which doesn't mean runny!!


                                            Medium consistency means the yolks are thickened but not set -- a bit short of custard-like in viscosity. See my pic up above. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7509...

                                            If medium consistency meannt "not runny" (as you say) then what in the word would "over hard" mean for the yolk? Firm egg whites and yolks cooked to the point where a diamond cutter is de rigeur?

                              2. re: J.L.

                                Crappy is definitely The Pantry. But....I like their coleslaw. I like their home fries - have a nice crisp on them. Their steaks are like something I imagine I would get in the army on steak day. Their other food I imagine is more along the lines of nicer prison cuisine. Breakfast? Hm. It's it's eggs and potatoes - hard to go wrong. Nothing wrong with their pancakes (hard to screw up a pancake) but not sure about their bacon. I really don't remember.

                              3. re: sushigirlie

                                Funny, I would say the food at Little Dom's is regularly inedible. PDC, IMO is pretty bad even late night. Phillipe's can be bad, but I do like it. Taylor's is good all things considered (mostly price, but 60ish salty waitresses help.) the Pantry, no thanks, mostly because I feel them reaching into my wallet and ripping me off.

                                Little Dom's
                                2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                1. re: sushigirlie

                                  Old school good? Lawry's. Their prime rib is much better than Musso's or PDC, which both are...well...okay. The best part of PDC is going in late when you're starving, drunk, and stoned. And then it's reasonably satisfying. A big splurge up in scale from Denny's.

                                  If you're in the mood for lobster late at night - (and who isn't?) that's probably the best thing from PDC - hard to screw up boiling a lobster and melting butter.

                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                    Palm managed to overcook my lobster last time I visited and it was the LAST time I visited.

                                    1. re: maudies5

                                      Really? The Palm is usually pretty competent on those sort of things. Did you send it back?

                                    2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                      +1, like Kate Mantelini, Norm's for rich people.

                          2. re: mc michael

                            I can't remember what I got there. The cooking was very rudimentary.

                            1. re: sushigirlie

                              That may be true if you accept this definition of "rudimentary"--fundamental: being or involving basic facts or principles. A caprese salad, a steak, swordfish, abalone, a baked potato, a drink--all basic, but using good ingredients, properly prepared. Very dependable, I'd say. MG it's certainly not.

                              1. re: mc michael

                                No foam to be found at PDC... ;-D>

                        2. I still enjoy the PDC.

                          I am aware it has drawbacks. I favor breakfast over dinner as a general rule although I lament the fact that they no longer poach eggs "properly", the old fashioned way. But breakfast reigns supreme IMO.

                          Ideally, sit in the original train car [the first room], have juice, a basket of their delectable muffins ... and a choice of breakfast classics. Enjoy a classic Gin Fizz, Milk Punch, Mimosa or Bloody Mary aside. It is nostalgic moment for me.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                            wow talk about nostalgia, haven't been there (downtown site) since 96 or 97. it's sort of hazy I remember it was solid although nothing exceptional. but then my hosts were sort of... well let's just say it was 4 AM and they were in possession of a class A felony substance. hey it was July and they had a convertible and we were just cruising down from Echo Park. it all seemed like a better idea than it does now. I can imagine (and want to) that it hasn't changed a whit. I think I had the smoked salmon eggs Benedict. I'd bet a fiver it's still on the menu and the same.

                          2. I've only been there once, and it was the Santa Monica location. We went because of the late night menu that is advertised online. Something like $20 for a prime filet with fries.

                            First off, the place smells like an 80 year old widow's house, and she hasn't opened the windows since she moved in. It's creepy in there.

                            We were one of three tables, but we could overhear the waiter trying to tell all of us that they don't do a late night menu. As if anyone coming in for a $20 special at midnight is going to pay $60 for a steak. So, then he'd relent and give them the special. We asked him what the baseball cut steak was and he said, "Y'know. A normal steak. Kind of chewy." Whatever.

                            It was all mediocre. Filet was bland. The fries were like McDonald's and not "a trio of potatoes" or whatever else the menu claimed they were. The fact that they serve their steaks with a big bowl of relished ketchup disturbs me, also. Maybe it isn't fair to judge them based on one late night visit, but I would never return.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Azizeh

                              PDC Santa Monica is NOT the same as the original (downtown), both in quality and ambiance. I avoid SM PDC like the plague.

                              My earlier posts only refer to the original (Downtown) PDC location.

                            2. I have always liked the idea of Pacific Dining Car---24 hour place with a good reputation for their breakfast. It is an institution, yes,...but I have never been a big fan. Their steaks are good, but not great. I personally like Taylor's Steakhouse in Koreatown if I want that old school feeling.

                              Taylor's Steakhouse
                              901 Foothill Blvd, La Canada, CA 91011

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Eastside Eater

                                I guess the question you infer is this: is there a better 24/7 resto in LA?

                                1. re: mc michael

                                  In that context, PDC is the best. 24/7 restaurant in L.A.