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Restaurants & Bars

Pacific Dining Car -- Short Report

Fidelixi | Mar 4, 200201:34 AM     18

After watching Shaq dismantle the hapless Rockets, and learning that my standbys R-23 and Sushi Gen were closed on a Sunday, I along with a friend made my way to PDC. Having been on something of a steak rampage lately after reading and somehow feeling emboldened by the fact (rumor?) that Duke Ellington ate steak every single night, I have recently ordered up New York and Rib Eye steaks at Dana Tana's, The Palm, Chez Jay and in my own kitchen (where the servers require a far less substantial corkage fee). I have heard about PDC for years -- and live close to the satellite in Santa Monica -- but had never made my way through their doors. Despite this, I had high hopes, thinking that this was an undiscovered (by me) old-school treasure along the lines of Dan Tana's, which to my mind serves the best steak in town. After having a bit of a heard time finding the place (thinking that it was in the heart of downtown), we came in and found a truly retro atmosphere, happily, one in which it seemed important to order scotch and then betray our wives and fiancées (which of course we would never do). It just felt like we should, that the room wanted us to. No matter. Instead, we ordered. Rib eyes and Caesar salads and onion rings. The onion rings were tasty, with a light batter and a strong onion taste, from the fact that they weren’t overly cooked and drained of their flavor or sharpness entirely. The Caesar was serviceable and nothing to complain about but nothing to generate much excitement either. And then, the headline act – the steak. First of all, it was noticeably thin, couldn’t have been even an inch thick. I then remembered that the menu said nothing about weight, and it occurred to me that for 32 dollars this was a pretty small piece of meat. None of this would matter, of course, provided that the meat delivered on the fronts that matter, taste and texture. I sliced off a bit and saw only gelatinous gristle on my fork. Not good. Digging deeper I did manage a slice of steak. And then another. It tasted…decent – juicy and flavorful, tender with a light crust but it was decidedly gristly. And the cut as a whole was surrounded by fat, fat that to my mind should have been trimmed off. A thin, fatty little steak for $32. Nothing to write home about. Granted, we didn’t sit down to have a serious meal just a quick steak after the game but that quick steak should have cost me about $14 for the quality and quantity I received. I like the place, however – maybe it’s best for drinks?

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