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Jun 28, 2001 06:38 PM

Musso & Frank's

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A very reliable friend reports that the steaks he and a companion were served a week ago at Musso & Frank's were tough and flavorless and only slightly above room temperature. Furthermore, the house salad dressing and vegetable sides were lousy. Was there ever a time when this was a worthy eating establishment?

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  1. I think it still is quite worthy - you just have to know what to order. There are some definite 'land mines' on the menu, I admit. But I am surprised your friends got a bad steak. I have had their filet a number of times and have always been satisfied. Their pork chops are also divine (and huge! One order is two big chops - I can eat a lot of food in one sitting and I always split the order with someone.) In general, I feel that all their grilled items are quite good, as are most of the salads. The tomato stuffed with chicken salad is a terrific lunchtime meal. And the Caesar is pretty famous. The daily specials (my favorite is the chicken pot pie on Thursdays) are usually quite good. And of course, there are the martinis! I also find the wine to be reasonable. Their price for BV Rutherford Cabernet, a solid Cab, is one of the best for that wine in town - and they have a great half bottle of that cab I don't often find anywhere else.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Tom P
      More of Everything...

      I have found Musso's to be pretty inconsistent. I've had some great NY steaks on some occassions, and fatty chewy steaks on others.

      I will say this, I agree its a great place for a martini with dinner.

      1. re: More of Everything...

        is it correct that you can only order steaks and chops after they start up the grill at 3pm (even though musso's opens up at 11am). and also, does anyone know if their desserts are any good, i haven't ever heard any mention of it.

        1. re: kevin

          Back in the days when I used to eat at Musso's a lot -- whenever I could persuade someone else to pick up the tab -- my regular meal was the pounded steak with country gravy (the "steak" wasn't much better than an oversized Camp steak, but the gravy....oh, God, the gravy...) and Diplomat Pudding, which is a sort of custrad with strawberries. Delish.
          Hasn't anybody mentioned the flannel cakes?

      2. re: Tom P

        I agree, you definitely have to find what works for you at Musso's and don't deviate too far. It's possible to have a really good meaty dinner and pay a lot (go strictly off the grill and split a caesar salad) or have a reasonably priced lunch (or dinner!) of a big fat omelette and Lyon-style potatoes. And the flannel cakes (with a side of cottage cheese they're nice) are great for lunch at the counter too. It took me a few years (!) to figure out what worked for me there, and I was persistent just because I loved the place itself and the great waiters ("You want to ruin that with ketchup?" Actually, my favorite was when the friend who introduced me to the place tried to stop the last few sweetbreads from being placed on his plate from the serving platter at the end of the meal, and the waiter said gently, "Come on, you can finish it" and proceeded to serve him the rest (which he obediently ate, naturally).)

        But anyone who's sat at the counter in the evening as the steaks are going on the grill and coming off with ballet-like coordination and precision among the guy manning the grill and all the waiters will be really surprised that a steak arrived past its prime. Also, I've seen people make the mistake of ordering a steak off a different part of the menu than the "from the grill" (or whatever it's called) section. I think this could have led to disappointment too.

        Someone asked about the desserts below -- I've had the rice pudding and maybe the flan or creme caramel (which ever name it goes by) and they're what you'd expect -- very homey, not fancy or fabulous, an appropriately old-fashioned ending. And inexpensive. I like them, but the next person will turn their nose up at them, I imagine.

      3. I have not found Musso & Frank's to be good for much of anything except martinis! Ever! For a great and especially reasonable steak, try Taylor's on 8th street near Normandie. Funny ol' timey atmosphere (not as great as Musso's, alas..) and a real bargain. Good Ceasar also.

        1. What is the world coming to when you have to defend Musso's of all places?! Of course it's "a worthy eating establishment" -- it defines "worthy eating establishment"! True most of the prepared foods and the salads suck, but you just ignore them. The grilled meats are great -- I like the pork chops, too, and the lamb chops even better. (I haven't had the steaks very often, but they're better than Taylor's, IMO.) If you need green, the creamed spinach is the thing -- very little cream, a hint of nutmeg. As for the martinis, they are without equal -- and they come in their own little mini carafes. Most of all, the old-time woody atmosphere, like the old-time woody waiters, cannot be beat.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Rafi

            C'mon Now! This is M&F for chrissakes!!!! Yo Rafi-thanks for keepin' it real. I went to Musso's the week before I left for Napa-HAD TO! Musso's, along with tiki ti, puebla tacos, and sushi sasabune, is among the few places I'll really miss in LA. Yeah, the salad was mediocre. Yes, I've had better steaks. Sure, it wasn't the absolute freshest seafood I've ever had. But you know what? The place STILL rocks. I for one am glad that they have not gone the way of Chasen's-no modernization, no attempts to turn the place into "Pinot at Musso & Franks", etc. Just good old style digs and the classiest wait staff in town. There are some places I just want to stay the same-this place being A#1 on that list. This is true Hollywood comfort food. And their Martinis, well, you know.

            Peace and ol' school grub

            ps-the pork chops, mmmmmmmmm . . .

            1. re: JustinRush

              It is probably shameful, but I don't know about these two places. Can you fill me in?

              1. re: Tom P

                Tiki Ti is a great old bar on the 4000 of Sunset Blvd in Silverlake. Very charming. Most of their custom drinks are rum/tequila/fruity which does nothing for me----but I discovered that they make the best damn Bloody Mary in town. With all the essential ingredients. Their prices go up and up, though. Everything is at least $8 now and don't even ASK for a beer......highly recommended though. Also good for out of town guests; if only to prove that there are things over 20 years old still going strong.....PS also open only Weds-Sat.

                1. re: Pork Chop

                  Thats a good description of the Ti, and yes, their Bloody Mary is the best in the universe (I say that about all their drinks). The prices are high, $8-$12 for drinks, but their drinks pack the punch of two or three drinks served anywhere else (is it the cough syrup?) so I don't think its a bad deal. El Chavo next door is good for soaking up some of that alcohol.

                  Puebla tacos @ Lake and Orange Grove serves up godhead carnitas worth a special trip for any taco-afficionado in the greater LA are. Just awesome!

                  peace and grub

              2. re: JustinRush

                Where do you wannna eat? Where the waiters are actors?... Or where the waiters are waiters?

            2. The salad to get at Musso's is the wedge of iceberg with bleu cheese or roquefort dressing.

              Sorry to hear you got a tough steak, but I've had excellent steaks there. Did you request another?

              1. Neither my husband nor I have ever had a meal at M&F which would even qualify as "ok". It has atmosphere up the wazoo, a fabulous old time feel, but HEY I'm from Chicago where places with atmosphere are also required to have good food. To me this is the failure of LA: places which SHOULD have good food (M&F, Miceli's, the Pantry) [because they have great atmosphere] don't. It's a crying shame.
                The martinis are great. The bloody mary wasn't bad either.