With Father’s Day around the corner, it is only fair to reward Pops for the years of love and support (financially and otherwise) he has provided over the years. And how does one reward a red-blooded American dad? Meat, and lots of it!

There are a fair number of high-quality steak restaurants in Los Angeles to take Dad, but only a few have the goods to be called a “steak joint.” You know, the ones where shot-callers make deals in dark quiet corners, the wait staff have been there for over 30 years and the moment you enter you feel like you’ve been transported back in time, to an era when no one has ever heard of “saturated fat” or uttered the phrase, “No thanks, I’m watching my figure.”

One place that has all the bona fides of a true steak joint is Pacific Dining Car in Downtown Los Angeles. One might say it is the original steak joint as it is not only one of the oldest (doors opened in 1921), but has been owned by the same family for four generations. Can’t get more old school than that. Also, the place is open 24/7! That’s right, you can get a steak and lobster for breakfast and an omelet for dinner, if that floats your boat.

There is no drinks list, so don’t ask for one. Our waiter, Sergio (35 years at the place) was glad to discuss our options. I went with a Side Car, essentially a margarita using Cognac instead of tequila. Also, instead of a salt-rimmed glass, they use sugar. My girlfriend, Kristen, ordered the Manhattan, and both were perfect fits for the evening. A strong drink made impeccably – a classic start to a classic meal.

For starters, we elected to go “surf,” in anticipation of the “turf” to come. A place like Pacific Dining Car is no place to scrimp, so we went with two starters and the Wedge salad. We shared the Sautéed Scallops with Lobster Sauce and the Maine Lobster Appletini. The Appletini is chilled lobster with a vodka-infused Louis dressing on a bed of julienned apples. The scallops were plentiful and meaty, and the Appletini was good, but I felt the Louis dressing overpowered the subtle flavor of the lobster. Word to the wise, split the Wedge salad, as there is plenty for two: crisp baby iceberg lettuce with aged Roquefort with a vinaigrette dressing and a hint of basil oil.

Before moving into our main course, we asked the sommelier, Ehsan, about the extensive wine list. And when I say extensive, I mean over 500 bottles to choose from! As the opening cocktail had us pretty warmed up, we elected for a glass of wine each, instead of a bottle. At Pacific Dining Car they do an eight-ounce pour, so one glass each was perfect for us. We each had a red, a Meritage and a blend, and both were delicious.

On to the star of the show: the beef. I’ve tried all cuts of beef, and the one that delivers the perfect combination of flavor and texture is the filet mignon. Others go for the ribeye or porterhouse, and both are fine cuts, but I love the feeling of gently pressing my knife into the seared flesh of a rare filet and having it cut with the slightest pressure. The beef just melts in your mouth and the world fades away; you become one with the beef and with the universe. Filet mignon is my Trainspotting.

I ordered the Filet Oscar, a filet mignon topped with crab and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce. Decadent? Yeah, kinda. Honestly, the meat was so tender and flavorful, I don’t remember much about the crab and asparagus! But that’s the way it’s supposed to be, there is only one star of this show, the filet. Kristen ordered the ribeye, a generous cut, which also delivered great flavor and was cooked to perfection.

Pacific Dining Car recently started a late-night menu, so having a great meal doesn’t have to be reserved for a special occasion. Menu items include Huevos Rancheros, Prime Rib Open Face Sandwich and, one I can’t wait to try, a Lamb Burger. Prices range from $12-$20, certainly reasonable for a great meal with a side of classic ambience.

So, whether you’re taking Dad for a full-blown old-school steak and martini dinner, having a late-night post-event nosh or simply Tuesday morning breakfast, Pacific Dining Car is the place to be.

Pacific Dining Car also has a Santa Monica location. For more information, visit pacificdiningcar.com.