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Dec 21, 1999 02:00 PM

Musso & Frank

  • j

Any word on what the deal is there these days? Worth a meal, or just a drink at the bar for nostalgia sake?

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  1. Musso's is absolutely classic, but the menu is straight out of the teens: jellied consomme, finnan haddie, rex sole meuniere. My usual is the welsh rarebit, a perfect late-afternoon lunch at the counter (leavened with a gibson cocktail or two), the chops and steaks are fine, and the caesar salads made by Manny--sit at the Hollywood Blvd. end of the counter during dinner hours--are the finest in Los Angeles. Don't expect too much of the made dishes.

    9 Replies
    1. re: j gold

      I've gotta say, the last experience I had a M&F was horrible.
      Two friends and myself had a late lunch on a weekday when the place was virtually empty.
      I had a fried eggplant appetizer.
      The tasteless disks were virtually unrecognizable under an overly fried, heavy breading. One could taste yesterday's fried fish infused in the tired oil's gritty texture.
      My salad was no better. Wilted greens with warm dressing.
      We did not stick around for the entrees.
      I recall when this restraunt seemed to care about it's patrons, even if they were tourists.
      What a shame.

      1. re: marty
        Jessica Nemeroff Ritz

        M&F was fun but also a bummer. I enjoyed the paradoxical novelty of the old timey vibe as I waited for the other three in my party to arrive. Once seated we waited 20 minutes to get menus and place our drink orders. The unique frenetic charm of our waiter did not compensate for the lack of service. Fortunately we were a group of avid lively conversationalists. The $4.75 anemic iceberg lettuce salad and $10 bland avocado salads were not promising. Finally when our main courses arrived, well over an hour after we had ordered them, we then had to wait again for complete place settings. Meats were tasty and robust, but the quality not commensurate with the price, and I was glad it wasn't on my dime. French fries were flaccid and cold. The delayed service increased the parking costs; the attendant was unsympathetic, so I figured he was inured to this common complaint. As a LA native I'm glad I've now been once. If I do return with an out of town guest or family member, I'll strictly follow Jonathan's exact recommendations.

        1. re: Jessica Nemeroff Ritz

          I always have a great time at M&F. I've never had the food take longer than 15 minutes and I love the old time service. Same guys for years. You do have to stick with the simple classics. Steak, bakedp, spinach, oysters. Bloody Marys make the whole thing better. Tip, park for free for two hours accross the street.

          1. re: michelle

            I wholeheartedly agree with Michelle. I've loved Musso's every time I've been. The food is old, old, old in style - you're not going to get a great salad! -but chase your steak or mac & very cheesy cheese down with a great bloody mary or generous martini and you'll be just fine. And it's perfect before or after catching an American Cinematheque show at the Egyptian across the street. Or in escape from snotty Hollywood types at the Sunset Room or Les Deux!

            1. re: lillaura

              Au contraire. At Musso's, you are going to get a great salad: the restaurant, specifically waiter Manny, who works the end of the counter nearest to Hollywood Boulevard, makes the best Caesar salad in Los Angeles. The chiffonade salad isn't bad either (though it can be a little tart), and the romaine salad with anchovy dressing is sublime ... though as you note, very much in the style of 1923.

              1. re: Pepper

                Generally agree with the above, however, the seafood chiffonade salad is superb, and enough for two hungry people. And let's not forget that wonderful sourdough bread. Also, great breaded veal cutlets, abalone if you can afford it, and my dad always loved the finan haddie. I haven't been there myself in years -- is Eppy, the waiter on the bar side, still there?

                1. re: Kathy

                  I've had great meals at M&Fs, and horrible meals. Lunch is better than dinner, and ALWAYS sit at the counter if you can (service is MUCH faster and friendlier there). Stick with grilled items, like steak or grilled fish, but I also recommend the slowly-braised meats, like short ribs, or lamb shanks. They usually have one or two long-braised meat dishes on the menu every day (the menu does change daily), and all the ones I've tried have been fantastic, rich, tender, falling-off-the-bone. Also very good are the Beef Grenadines (sauteed thick slices of tenderloin in a port wine sauce surrounded by bearnaise sauce). The flannel cakes are wonderful, and available only at lunch.

                  M&Fs CAN be expensive, since everything is ala carte, but if you order carefully, you won't be disappointed.

                2. re: Pepper

                  Eep! I stand corrected. I'm definitely trying the chiffonade salad next time, Pepper, thanks! I guess what I meant was more along the lines of the baby greens or huge California girl type of salad.

          2. re: marty

            Hopelessly bad restaurant, but I keep trying. Last time a cockroach ran across my table, and my lobster cocktatil was still frozen. When I called this to the attention of my waiter, he told me they never claimed it was fresh. After making it clear that it was an ice block he was kind enough to MICROWAVE it. Disgusting. I will never try again, except for a martini.

        2. One more Musso's recommendation: flannel cakes. Oh, they're lovely. They're somewhere between French crepes and American pancakes--smooth and velvety instead of puffy and cakey. There's a ton of vanilla extract in the batter, and melted butter on each of the three cakes that form a low-rise stack. With a bloody mary or a ramos fizz, they'll iron out a lot of morning-after wrinkles.

          1. The prices are rediculous and the food is not that great. I would not even consider it for drinks.