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Jun 7, 2005 08:10 PM

Musso and Frank

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I am going to a show at the Pantages and want to get an "old" hollywood experience. I have read a lot about Musso and Frank but am not sure it's necessarily worth the "hype."

Any advice???

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  1. Personally I would recommend eating somewhere like Vert or Hungry Cat and then having a martini at Musso and Frank. It's definitely an old Hollywood experience, but you might not like what they served in old Hollywood -- plain grilled steaks and chops with canned vegetables, at 2005 prices. I know some say that if you order carefully you can have a good meal, but for my money, I'd rather drink my dinner or have some Thai food before cocktails there.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty

      I'll agree, but I am terribly fond of the place. Besides, I've seen Keith Richards and Johnny Depp there, laughing with the waiters.

      1. re: Kitchenette

        Keith Richards and Johnny Depp - did that make the food better ;-)

        I loved the pommes lyonnaise at M&F. If I had an unlimited caloric budget, I could eat them every day.

        I went with a group of 5 - we had a fun fun fun experience with a quite correct, polite, somewhat bemused waiter. We got delicious drinks and the boys got big plates of meat and we all left in a good mood.

        It's not seriously chowish, but it is very pleasurable.

      2. re: Chowpatty

        OK, Chowpatty, I usually love your reviews, but you're wrong on this one.

        I'm going to give up one of my favorite Chowish secrets of all-time. The only way to eat at Mussos is to sit at the counter in the darker, wood and leather room (not the bar in the better lit room), right on the end, near the front door. The guy who works that end, an incredibly friendly elderly gent whose name I believe is Felix (though I might be wrong, it's been a few months) has worked there for literally almost 40 years. I order "omakase" style -- I give him some vague parameters (steak medium rare, a potato, a salad), and let him go to work. Among other secrets, he usually chooses twice-baked baked potatoes, which aren't on the menu. Trust the man. He IS the real deal. You simply cannot go wrong. Enjoy.

        1. re: Bite Me

          manny felix is the best waiter in town. if he's not too busy, maybe he'll do a magic trick. i still haven't figured out the one involving a matchox!

      3. i agree, m & f's is mostly about the mystique, but it's cool and fun. but in my opinion i would not recommend hungry cat or vert, had subpar meals both places. try pig and whistle.

        6 Replies
        1. re: woofer

          i've been to hungry cat twice and had excellent meals. the price is right too.
          musso was one of my worst meals is ever. shrimp salad featured shrimp drowning in mayo. my friends's pasta tasted like chef boyardee

          1. re: Baby Ruth

            Shrimp drowning in mayo? Pasta like Chef Boy-ar-dee? You say that like it was a BAD thing...!

            Seriously, M&F serves the kind of stuff our grandparents liked, and to our grandparents (mine, anyway) lots of mayo was good and "al dente" was an Italian phrase meaning "the noodles ain't done yet." Get into that, and be cool with the crusty old waiters, and you'll have a good time. Get the liver and onions...but if you want something fresh or snappy, or a waiter that wants to be your pal, yeah. Just get a martini.

            1. re: Will Owen

              The steaks are ok, the liver and onions good if you're into that sort of thing. Perosnally, I like the Sand Dabs at Musso's.

              I agree there are better places around, but if you want an old Hollywood feel for one night, this is the place to go. With Chasen's having closed, there are fewer and fewer of these throwback places.

                1. re: Tusc

                  I like the Sand Dabs too.

            2. re: woofer

              I second Chowpatty's rec for an interestingly tasty and pleasant night out in Hollywood.

              And for the love of god, please do not eat at Pig n' Whistle.

            3. There is a lot of pleasure to be had at Musso & Frank if you remember that a lot of the cooking is geared more toward Myrna Loy's palate than your own. Romaine salad with anchovy dressing is swell. I am fond of the Welsh rarebit, the lamb sandwiches, the flannel cakes, the finnan haddie (smoked haddock), the avocado cocktail and the jellied consomme. Assume that the ``ready'' dishes are as awful as they sound. Liver and sweetbreads are sound. The charcoal grilled meats are fine. The crusty sourdough bread is great. The chicken pot pie is delicious, but the daily specials are not always as good as they might be. The cocktails are supreme.

              Hollywood would be a much poorer place without Musso's.

              4 Replies
              1. re: condiment

                My husband used to work in Hollywood and Wednesday (is that the right day?) was always CPP (chicken pot pie) day at his office.

                I've been a few times and enjoy it for the atmosphere. The food I had was good but not memorable. But my husband assures me that the lunch is special.

                1. re: rainey

                  Thursday is chicken pot pie day. The best cpp I've had, by the way.

                2. re: condiment

                  I love Hollywood nostalgia, but M & F is just not worth throwing away good money on bad (or mediocre) food and so-so martinis. If they could find a way to keep their "old" look but serve decent (by today's standards) food and drinks, I'd go back. But the few times I've been there over the years haven't really endeared me to the old place. Shame that.

                  1. re: Golem

                    That would ruin it. You go there for the kind of stuff you can't get anywhere else, the old, classic way, served in the old, classic style. May Musso and Frank's NEVER change!!!

                3. Advice:

                  Tenderloin steak, "charred rare," baked potato, and 2 gin gibsons. It's a meal for the ages. You won't be sorry.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dwg

                    You've just described the bulk of the meal I eat there each time we go to the theater. However, I add extra jus on the side for the filet, and a dungeness crab cocktail with no sauce. Their French cut lamb chops are a good substitute for the filet.

                  2. Here is my advice - and I recommend you trying it, I love Musso's:

                    Be sure to sit on the West side of the restaurant with all the red booths. This is the side with the long, low bar where people can eat, not the side with the actual bar. The booths are great and you will get that old Hollywood feel in spades.

                    Have a martini (or Gibson) and enjoy

                    If you like Caesar Salad, do not miss this one, it is one of the best (Two can split it. Or get two for three people, or four people)

                    Stick with the grilled meats – I love the Filet and the Pork Chops in particular. The baked potatoes are very good, as are the fries, and I love the creamed spinach.

                    Stay simple like that your first time and I am sure you will enjoy. Let us know what you think.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Tom P

                      I totally agree - I love Musso's but stay with the basics (the filet is great with the bernaise sauce), creamed spinach, the caesar is amazing... order a REAL martini and have fun - I've gone with people who have ordered the knockwurst or pasta and they aren't thrilled but then again, its not that kind of place - go for the steaks and meats and drinks. I love the whole Old Hollywood deal and people that complain about Musso's just don't see it for what it is - I've been going for years and yeah, the waiters can be grouchy but they are super professional and I've never had a problem.