Thursday, February 26, 2009

RATE-A-RESTAURANT 200: Join Us March 7 at Pacific Dining Car!

(Flickr photo by willonawoods.)

As we come upon Franklin Avenue's sixth anniversary next week, we're also hitting our big 200th restaurant review. (And by the way, there have probably been another 30 to 40 restaurants we never got a chance to review through the years... so yes, we enjoy going out to eat.)

That means we've got two reasons to celebrate... and we'd like you to come along with us. For our 100th Rate-A-Restaurant, we hit downtown's classic P.E. Cole's (a few years before its revamp). Now, for our 200th, we'd like to hit another classic Los Angeles eatery.


Now, as you know, the PDC is not cheap. But this is your opportunity to sample a range of PDC entrees... and a wine pairing to boot. Chef Michel Cornu has prepared a prix fixe menu for us for $40 each.

Please RSVP at franklin_avenue(at)yahoo(dot)com by Wednesday so we can get an accurate count! We hope to see you there!

1310 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 483-6000

Some background on the PDC, via the L.A. Times:

The restaurant is a replica of a railroad dining car that Fred and Lovey Cook had built in 1921 and installed at 7th Street and Westlake Avenue. Two years later it was moved to 6th and Witmer streets, its present location. Today, two robust faux-bronze steers draped with a banner boasting "80 years" are suspended above the 6th Street side of the white picket fence that surrounds the property. The restaurant has spread out with the years, adding a couple of dining rooms, a generously sized bar and, as wine became an essential part of fine dining, a wine room. But the ownership hasn't changed, it's just moved on to the third generation.

Pacific Dining Car downtown is an old-fashioned place. The decor plays up every possible reference to the past. Old suitcases that look as if they have traveled back and forth across the country sit on brass luggage racks. The original dining car is lined with narrow hardwood boards and fitted with high-backed booths for two. The place smells of wood smoke and coffee and the decades. You fully expect Georgian-era gentlemen to be sitting in the wingback armchairs in their slippers. (The Santa Monica branch is a mere 11 years old and doesn't have the same evocative atmosphere.)

The beef is all from the East and dry-aged on the premises, and the grill men here seem to never make a mistake, even though they're working over live mesquite rather than a broiler set to a precise heat. Order the richly marbled rib-eye medium rare with a char and that's exactly what you'll get. Even the baseball steak, which is top sirloin cut in the shape of a baseball three to four fingers thick, is perfectly rosy at the center. That and the massive cowboy steak, a rib-eye on the bone, are my picks for best flavor and texture. The pepper steak is one of the best around, especially if you order the Delmonico prepared that way. Basically a bone-in New York strip, it comes studded with cracked black peppercorns that pack a fierce heat.

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