On Christmas eve, my son and daughter made a 6:30 dinner reservation for the three of us at First and Hope, a modern, sleek space downtown. My son had been there before, and thought we would enjoy it, and we did. Appetizers were spicy tuna ceviche, baby bib salad and deviled lobster tail [the clear winner on looks, but the spicing easily overwhelmed the lobster]. Mains were all filet mignon, in varying degrees of rare [medium rare, rare, and blue]. No complaints from any of us; the food was good, attractive and service was attentive and timely. We had a good time in a quiet corner booth, and got a long look at the high-tech drink dispensing wall on our way out. I'd like to return to try some items on the regular menu that I've read about here.
First and Hope, 710 W. First St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
The next day we went to perhaps the stylistic [and temporal] opposite: Pacific Dining Car in Santa Monica. This was a first visit for all of us, chosen solely for our ability to get a dinner reservation on Christmas. The web site tells of a history from the early 1920's. It was a big, bustling and full place that evening; the 3 or 4 rooms filled soon after our 6:30 arrival with big round tables full of families and friends. The dark wood paneling, wallpaper and old photos gave it a historically elegant and homey feel, if home were Manhattan. The food: ribeye, lobster and rack of lamb; all were good. Caesar salad [just had to, in this old place]. Mac & cheese ['I hate you for ordering this' daughter repeated to son with each poaching]. This was more comfort food than styled cuisine. Waiter was an old pro who got everything right with minimal fuss, [the desultory dropping off of new silverware was the 'just like Manhattan' moment], but we eventually got him to crack a joke. Upon leaving, both son and daughter remarked that, given the circumstances and expectations, they were more impressed with PDC.
Pacific Dining Car, 2700 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90403 [also at 1310 West 6th Street Los Angeles, CA 90017]
It was two good evenings with family, and we really want to thank the folks who worked on this holiday to make ours so enjoyable.
Pacific Dining Car
2700 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403