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Pacific Dining Car
1310 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Date of Visit: 14 April 2003
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My adult (more or less) life has been spent here (except for a brief stint in the US Navy lasting only 22-years, 2-months, and 15-days...but who's counting?). So why did it take almost 50 years for me to eat at the Pacific Dining Car? I can't truthfully answer that question. But I can probably say with some reasonable degree of certainty that it probably will not be another 50 years before I return. It was not the most memorable dining experience of my life, but it also was not the least. Should you make the trip? Read on.
So there I was, in downtown LA staying at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. In the mood for some dead cow, I made arrangements with the ChiefMeatInspector to come by the hotel and we would make a slow stampede down 6th street to the legendary Pacific Dining Car.
In business since 1921, the Pacific Dining Car is a Los Angeles legend. What other fine dining restaurant can you think of that is open 24-hours a day?!
We arrived by taxi (the details of which I will not mention). Upon entering, we were given our choice of seating, as the restaurant was not very busy. We selected a quiet booth and began to ponder the varied menu selections.
As we were taking a look at the variety of dead cow available, the wine sommelier stopped by and introduced himself and to offer his services. I took him up on his offer and said, "We would like a bottle of a full-bodied Cabernet with some nice fruit and a price under $75.00." He returned shortly with a bottle of 1999 Cafaro Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I sampled the wine and the sommelier said that it would need some air to get it to open up a little. It was a nice cab, but not something I would write home about. (The good part was that it was only $55.00.) After about 30-minutes, the sommelier returned and asked what we thought of the wine. I said that it was nice, but did not have the body or oak that I really like in a cab. As I was saying this, he was walking away from our table. When I finished talking, he was standing behind me and began telling us how complex and nice the wine was. This caused me some concern. I was not degrading his selection; I was only answering his question about how I enjoyed the wine. I do have one requirement for waiters and sommeliers: If you are going to tell me I am full of shit, please have the common courtesy to do so to my face. He made no points here.
And the food? Thanks for asking and here's the line-up: The ChiefMeatInspector started with the Iceberg Lettuce & Roquefort salad ($9.50), followed by the "Cowboy" steak — a large bone-in rib steak ($36.95), accompanied by sauteed garlic spinach ($3.95) and an Idaho baked potato ($5.75). The ChiefCowEater grazed on a Caesar Salad ($8.95), the Delmonico steak ($35.95) and an Idaho baked potato ($5.75). The restaurant serves only "hand-cut", USDA Prime Eastern corn fed beef, which is grilled over mesquite charcoal.
Everything was properly prepared and very tasty. Because Dead Cow at the Pacific Dining Car is grilled over mesquite charcoal, it has a much different taste than, let's say, cow served at Morton's. The ChiefMeatInspector's garlic sauteed spinach was very good (I grabbed a few fork-fulls when his attention was diverted!). The Idaho baked potato was good but could have been more attractive (and maybe bigger?) for almost six dollars.
It has been there just a few days short of forever. It's open 24-hours a day. It serves great dead cow. Need I say more? If you are in the Los Angeles area, stop by the Pacific Dining Car and enjoy. It will be worth your time.
ALL RATINGS FOR PACIFIC DINING CAR
Service (Note: Would have been 4 cows except for the sommelier's comments.)