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"Defensive dining" suggestions for Musso & Frank?

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I have out-of-town visitors coming who have their hearts set on going to Musso & Frank. Do any CHers have suggestions for things that M&F do well? I know the martinis are supposed to be good, and have read positive things about the flannel cakes at breakfast.

So, two questions:

1. What's good as opposed to merely palatable (or worse)?

2. When is "tourist low tide", i.e., the time when there's the lowest ratio of tourists to regulars?

Thanks!

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  1. Just keep it simple with a steak or chop or grilled fish. If you order vegetables, ask if they're fresh. If you order salad, get the dressing on the side, it was drowned in bland dressing last time I went.

    1. Do not order any seafood as it is frozen. For entree, best to stick with steaks or chops. Porterhouse steak and hearts of romaine salad with their fantastic Roquefort are personal favorites

      1. Liver and Onions is a good choice. They usu. have a daily special of some sort, if it's the chicken pot pie, that's worth trying.

        Eat ahead, and good luck.

        1. Closed Sunday & Monday, open 11am-11pm.
          One of the few places worth visiting in Hollyweird.

          1. Don't get the sweetbreads necessarily, even if you love them.

            I like to eat elsewhere and then go to MF to drink. Often I just order the Welsh Rarebit. This is good ... with a drink ...

            1 Reply
            1. re: George

              George where do you go in Los Angeles for Good Sweetbreads? The last I had here which were good where at Genio's in Burbank...long gone.

              -----
              Genio's Restaurant
              1420 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91506

            2. Although it's been over ten years since I last ate there, I've always liked their Welsh Rarebit.

              1. I was there last Friday night. It was nearly empty. I would surmise tourists come for lunch rather than dinner, in any case we were there after 8 PM.
                Food: the Welsh rarebit didn't taste like Welsh Rarebit at all, more like some Campbell soup mixed with cheddar.
                But we both had steaks with fries. My dinner companion had the NY steak (medium) which he liked a lot, it was a lot denser than mine. I got the minute steak rare and it's one of the best steaks I had in ages, very tender, it was really rare, perfect really. Fries were very good too.

                I'd stick with steak, and as for the rest of their menu, as long as it's drowned in enough of their perfect Martinis, you shouldn't worry about it too much. Best martinis ever.

                1. You're better off if there are tourists there, otherwise its like a morgue in there with all the old regulars and stodgy old waiters. Flannel cakes are great, but I don't think they serve them past a certain time of day. If I wasn't eating steaks or chops I'd get the Niçoise salad. The sourdough bread is good too. If you go for dinner ask to sit in the bar room, otherwise during the day time the main dining room is better.
                  Its a pretty historical place no matter what you think...when Hollywood was Hollywood.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: monku

                    Although I enjoy the Bar Room for drinks, I actually prefer the more historical Old Room for dining and enjoy the quiet. It's getting harder to find quiet restaurants in Los Angeles so makes for a nice change of pace. There is something very comforting about the hushed tones, old red booths, and the soft sizzle of steaks and chops on the Old Room's grill

                  2. I like their lamb chops with that green mint jelly! flashback time!
                    Remember that EVERYTHING is a la carte, even salad dressing, which I think is like $5.00 extra!
                    Beyond that, it's fun, the martinis are great, a champagne cocktail always goes down nice and the cheesecake is my favorite in town. Yes, the cheesecake.

                    Agreed about the Flannel cakes and breakfast in general there, but I think the cut off for the flannel cakes is 2 or 3PM.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: annalulu

                      I love how M&F does their old-school sauces. Their Béarnaise is classic

                    2. 1. Consistently good: martinis, all the beef dishes. Inconsistent, but occasionally good: lamb chop. The open faced hamburger is actually quite tasty. It's juicy and beefy tasting and has a nice pink center. The salads will not impress.

                      2. Good non-tourist times are early lunch (flannel cakes) and mid-evening.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lil mikey

                        Is there ever a "high tide" of tourists there? I have only been for dinner and it always seems more old school clientele. I do not think it is on the typical tourists radar, but I could be wrong. Actually, I feel like a tourist when I go as I feel like I am visiting an old Hollywood haunt..
                        Only been for dinner and fully agree with martini and steaks recs, skip vegetable sides.

                      2. Thanks for all the recs! I'm now actually looking forward to it, especially with comments like "best martinis ever".

                        So it sounds like -

                        Good:
                        - NY steak
                        - minute steak
                        - porterhouse steak
                        - liver and onions
                        - daily special, esp. if it's chicken pot pie
                        - Roquefort salad dressing
                        - martinis!
                        - champagne cocktail
                        - flannel cakes (before 2pm or so)
                        - sourdough bread
                        - cheesecake
                        - Béarnaise sauce
                        - hamburger
                        - fries
                        - hearts of romaine salad

                        Unclear (either uneven or mixed reviews):
                        - welsh rarebit
                        - lamb chops

                        Suggestions:
                        - Get salad dressing on side in case it's not good
                        - Go after 8pm to avoid tourists, but it may be a morgue
                        - Ask for the bar room for dinner, or the main room if you want quiet
                        - Ask for the old (= main?) room during the day

                        Thanks again.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          lobster newburg ... may be frozen baja tails but still damn good.

                          1. re: Peripatetic

                            skip the pastas on the menu too.

                            flannel cakes are great, before 3pm actually.

                            martinis as always great.

                            and i have soft spot in my heart for their old fashioned open faced turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy, it's good and classic.

                            And if I'm not mistaken the French chef has been there for the past 30 years or so. So Musso and Frank is consistent, at least when it comes to the dishes that have been good year in and year out.

                            Oh, also, of the prepared dishes the Grenadine of Beef with Bernaise sauce is pretty good too. Think filet mingon medallions sauced with that great bernaise.

                          2. This is no help to anyone, because everyone but me hates it, but I like the squab. They fry it and serve it on some dry toast. Then they throw a few strips of bacon on top. It's odd and oddly good with a beer or martini. Salty!!

                            1. Their pommes lyonnaise are really quite wonderful. Go and enjoy the old school vibe. I really have had a ball going there.

                              1. Second the recommendations for steaks and flannel cakes Also, imho, you can't get wrong with Musso's daily specials. This list is from menupages:

                                Tuesday Corned beef and cabbage.
                                Wednesday Sauerbraten, potato pancakes
                                Thursday Homemade chicken pot pie
                                Friday Bouillabaisse marseillaise
                                Saturday Braised short ribs of beef with vegetables

                                I also recall a Thursday lamb curry special that I always liked, no it's not authentic Indian but like almost everything on the M&F menu it's solid comfort food. It's been a while (I have a class on Thurs), so I'm not sure if they still have it.

                                And where else will you find lobster Thermidor and Jell-O on the same menu?

                                -----
                                Musso & Frank Grill
                                6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                1. After living in Los Angeles for my entire 52 years, we went to Musso and Franks for the very first time a couple of months ago. I will tell you that Owen ordered the grilled Swordfish, and it was hands down better than any we've had elsewhere. Fluke? Who knows. All I know is that we will no doubt order it again, on our next visit. We loved the vibe---dark, clubby, and non-trendy.

                                  Enjoy

                                  1. We went for the first time 6 months ago. My wife had and loved the Hungarian Goulash. Everybody--party of 6--enjoyed their food and had a good time.

                                    1. Funny that you should mention defensive dining with M&S because we have the identical experience-all of our out of town visitors want to go and I always think it is such a waste aside from the martinis! I always order prime rib and baked potato and salad with dressing on the side as recommended. At the prime rib is usually pretty well prepared and I usually take 1/2 home for lunch the next day. My feeling is the simpler the better there.

                                      1. took by bud from chicago last saturday night...he loved the beef stroganoff, and I had a great (but overpriced) Chiffonade Seafood salad..nice shrimp and chunks of lobster with thousand island.
                                        the waiters are hilarious..they live on some other planet..only 'stop by' occasionally..would turn some off, but maybe part of the charm...go with a sense of humor.
                                        avoid all pasta dishes..
                                        LB

                                        1. I love Musso's... and yes, there are landmines on the menu. But you can have an amazing meal there:

                                          martinis and Caesar Salad of course

                                          Many of the salads are terrific, albeit simple in the fashion of the 20's and 30's... the Blue Cheese Vinaigrette is wonderful. And the Crab or Shrimp Louis is a lot of fun. Just ask the waiter with the salads and appetizers to explain so you know exactly what you are going to get.

                                          GRILLED ITEMS: You can't go wrong. I love the Filet. And perhaps my favorite thing on the menu are the pork chops. Very thick, juicy, with lots of au jus. Two huge chops. I eat A LOT and I often split them with someone.

                                          People seem to love the Sandabs and Welse Rarebit. And I have had the macaroni and cheese which is very, very good.

                                          Go and have fun! Just make sure to get a booth on the west side of the restaurant.

                                          1. My suggestion to you is to make sure you come here already full, then tell your friends who are set on going here that your stomach is upset and you are just going to drink.

                                            After they eat their stomachs will be upset too (that is, if they are able to get the food down without sending it back to the kitchen), and everyone will be on the same page (kind of).

                                            Most likely your friends will flip when they see the bill, especially when they realize that they could have gone to any fast food restaurant in the nation and gotten BETTER food and ten times of it for half the price. This is when you reply, "Well hey... now you can tell your friends you not only ate at Musso & Frank... but got to experience what it would be like to be on Fear Factor at the same time!"

                                            Good luck... I'm not even half-joking here!