Restaurant: Pacific Dining Car
Location: 1310 West 6th Street (Downtown)
Type of restaurant: Steakhouse
We stipulated: When Mike and Maria of Franklin Avenue announced they were hosting a lunch for bloggers and fans at Pacific Dining Car in honor of their 200th Rate-A-Restaurant review, I jumped at the opportunity to enjoy a fine meal with good company. I had previously been to Pacific Dining Car several years ago and had a very good meal.
They stipulated: That we order from the set menu and hopefully write a review in the style of the excellent Rate-A-Restaurant blog. I wasn't aware that our parking was comped, so I cheaped out and parked at a FAIL meter a block away. Would the meter reset itself and set me up for a parking ticket? If only the LA City Nerd was there to ask! I snapped a photo of the meter displaying FAIL with my camera and hoped for the best.
What I ordered: The one-time $40 Rate-A-Restaurant prix fixe included: Appetizer -- Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with Spring Mix Salad & Mango Beet Dressing; Entree -- Petit Filet Mignon and Monkfish with Lobster Sauce with Vegetable Medley; and Dessert -- Strawberry and Vanilla Vacherin / Compote of Seasonal Berries
High point: The medium-rare filet mignon was superb, which is certainly fitting from a restaurant with a giant steer mounted on their sign.
Low point: I would've appreciated a more substantial and savory helping of vegetables as a counterpoint to the beef and fish. As Mike noted in his review, the vegetables served with the monkfish were slightly sweet, which seemed a bit odd given that they were following a sweet salad course.
Overall impression: The food, service, atmosphere and company were excellent. A special nod goes to the wait staff, who were omnipresent without being intrusive and kept my water and coffee full. The salad was delicious and substantial, the meat and fish cooked perfectly, and the dessert completely satisfying. Courses were timed well and our large party was served simultaneously. For an extra classy touch (beyond the chandelier made of antlers) - there were actual cloth towels to dry your hands in the restroom. No need to grab 6 paper towels!
Chance I'll go back: The Pacific Dining Car is a bit steep to make it into my regular rotation (as I recall, the last time I was there dinner for two came out to around $190), but for special occasions or a tasteful late night date (it's open 24/7), I'd definitely go back. I've heard from several sources that their breakfasts are excellent, so I will have to stop by soon in the AM as well. They also offer a shuttle to Disney Hall several nights a week.
Thanks to Franklin Avenue and Pacific Dining Car for organizing such a fun event.