Restaurants & Bars

Los Angeles Area

Pacific Dining Car - Downtown

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Pacific Dining Car - Downtown

Jase | Sep 16, 2005 08:52 PM

It had been about year since I last visited and this was a business dinner so I managed to try a larger variety of side dishes. The short version is the overall quality is not as good as before and not worth the prices they charge.

We started with some crab cakes and the scallops in lobster sauce. The crab cakes had a good amount of meat in them but were over cooked. They were charred and almost burnt and they didn't flake and I actually had to use a knife to cut into them. The inside was moist and had a good crab taste but nothing outstanding. The scallops were on the small side and also overcooked and a little rubbery. The sauce was just a thick creamy buttery sauce with no discernable lobster taste.

I had the bone in rib eye rare and specified that I liked it on the rare side. It was cooked decently but the char was not as good and inside although red, was not that cool to the touch almost blue that I believe a good steakhouse should be able to deliver when I specify rare. Surprisingly the meat was nowhere near as tender as I recalled. It wasn't bad but again not top of the line and didn't give me that orgasmic feel of a good chew that also melts in your mouth that a good steak gives you.

I was seated next to two heathens who liked their meat well done. One even asked for her filet to be butterflied and have no pink. The other wanted it medium well. Both their steaks were red not pink inside even the butterflied fillet. You could tell they didn't want to raise a fuss and just nibbled around the edges and ate what they could of the middle. I told them to send it back but they thought the texture was okay enough and ended up eating most except the rarest bits. Interestingly enough the waiter never did come by to ask us how our steaks were.

The sides were all uniformly dissapointing. We had creamed spinach, creamed corn, asparagus and au gratin potatoes. The creamed corn came off best but that was probably because I love creamed corn and you have to really screw it up for me to dislike it. But at best I'd call it average. The spinach was bland and needed more seasoning, maybe some nutmeg and a little more salt. The asparagus had absolutely no flavor, the big stalks looked nice on the plate but that was it. I tried salvaging some of it with the hollendaise sauce it but decided it wasn't worth the calories. The potatoes in contrast to the appetizers seemed undercooked. I was having trouble cutting through it even though there wasn't that much cheese but it didn't seem to taste overly undercooked. But they too lacked seasoning and were bland.

Dessert was a chocolate lava cake with a side of the vanilla bean ice cream. I liked the fudge inside the cake but the cake itself seemed dry. The ice cream texture was nice and thick with a good mouthfeel but the vanilla taste was weak. Again good but nothing more than average for a higher end place.

I had a taste of someones chocolate souffle. The whipped cream was very tasty and had the right dash of vanilla. The souffle itself was moist but didn't blow me away.

Overall, I just didn't feel like it was worth the prices they are asking. I used to love this place but now I'd rather go to Mortons for a steakhouse experience.

One other service note, our main waiter had somewhat annoying mannerism. He kept on addressing everyone repeatedly with young man or young woman. He looked to be in his 40's and not one of those older silver haired career waiter types. That type I would expect as part of the professional waiter persona. Our party's ages were mainly in the 30's to 50's and the waiter didn't have that grandfatherly aura to pull off the older waiter routine. The waiter's affectation although mildly amusing in the beginning just seemed to grate on me after a while. Everytime he addressed you, it was always with the young man or young woman.

I don't want fawning or robotic service but I do expect a certain level of professionalism mixed in with the personal touch at a place like this.

It seemed a shame that this place isn't as good as it used to be.

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