Mel's Diner: Todd Beck
March 6, 2007 3:35 PM
Who: Todd Beck, president, Beck Media & Marketing
When: Wednesday, Feb. 28, lunch
Where: Pacific Dining Car, Santa Monica
Dined On: Attention steak lovers. Occasional beef eaters, too!
Even if you don’t do steak often, it’s worth doing it here.
There are lots of great joints for this sort of thing in L.A., and I’d love to hear readers’ favorites (please post your vote among the comments below). But the Pacific Dining Car’s prime beef truly stands out.
The meat is specially selected for the restaurant, and dry-aged and custom-cut at Pacific Dining Car’s own facility, according to both Todd and the Pacific Dining Car Web site. Steaks are grilled on a special fire that emits super-high heat to lock in the flavor, juices, etc.
The house-made, family-secret relish that comes with the steak is not necessary, since the steak is so good solo, but it’s tangy and sweet and irresistible.
Believe it or not, even better than the steak at Wednesday’s meal was the Maine Lobster Appletini I started with. It’s served with a perfect Louis sauce and green apples. I’ve never had a better lobster concoction. May have even licked the glass (nah, but wanted to).
It’s a treat to come to this restaurant with Todd Beck. He always has perfect recommendations. And he was kind enough this time to remind me that “portions are inordinately jumbo,” so I could pace myself.
He eats here at least twice monthly, between breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night (both the Santa Monica location and the original downtown are open 24 hours).
His stepdad, Wes Idol II, is the third-generation owner.
Speaking of family, Todd is a first-time dad. He and his wife, former King World publicity pro Susanna Beck, welcomed daughter Willa almost four months ago. So he stuck to the healthiest choices Wednesday (soup and the grilled fresh salmon Caesar). He had a doc appointment the next morning to get some life insurance. (He did cave for a few bites of chocolate soufflé.)
Obviously I’m in love with the food here. The dining experience overall is special, too.
Noir author James Ellroy is a fan and has included the dimly lit restaurant in his books.
White linen-covered tables are positioned further away from each other than at any other place I can think of in Los Angeles.
That means you can eat and chat and not feel like you’re issuing a press release at the same time.
A couple blocks away from Yahoo and MTV, the Santa Monica location is a favorite among some significant media figures. But Dining Car staff doesn’t talk about them.
The waiters are real waiters.
“No server will come up to you and say, ‘Hey, my name’s Bud, I have a pilot at The CW—whoops!—dropped my script,’” Todd said.
The Dish: Used “neologism” in conversation today? Never? Me neither.
That’s the sort of vocab Todd has rattled off naturally as long as I’ve known him (about eight years). He’s one of the smartest dudes I know.
His Beck Media & Marketing, based in Westwood, specializes in what he calls “technotainment” (thus the neologism reference).
Todd founded his company about seven years ago, after working in PR at CBS’s syndie division, a stint in the PR agency world and a dotcom venture.
Back then, “Technotainment was a cool, new concept,” he said. Now everyone’s doing it. Or trying to.
He’s since made a humming biz out of understanding the intersection of technology and entertainment. He found that having clients in both traditional TV and new media not only keeps him interested, it’s good business all around.
He has long seen what many folks in the industry are just starting to grasp. That media of all kinds, new and old, are inextricably linked, and best served when that’s taken into account.
Knowing the new-media stuff helps him “drive PR efforts for TV shows” with the latest tech-enabled strategies. It also means he can show new-media companies how to “see the television landscape,” he said.
Todd’s blossoming client list includes Sony Pictures Television, GoTV Networks, Digitalsmiths and DMGI. Even while we were having lunch, he got a call about new business. Hmmm. Perhaps little Willa’s not the only baby Beck in for a growth spurt.