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Musso and Frank

avli2 Jun 7, 2005 08:10 PM

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. c
    Chowpatty RE: avli2 Jun 7, 2005 08:23 PM

    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
      Kitchenette RE: Chowpatty Jun 7, 2005 10:55 PM

      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
        snackish RE: Kitchenette Jun 11, 2005 10:32 PM

        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
        deadorinjail RE: Chowpatty Oct 23, 2006 04:35 AM

        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
          ricflair RE: Bite Me Apr 11, 2007 02:11 AM

          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. w
        woofer RE: avli2 Jun 7, 2005 08:27 PM

        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
          Baby Ruth RE: woofer Jun 7, 2005 08:29 PM

          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
            Will Owen RE: Baby Ruth Jun 7, 2005 08:37 PM

            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
              Tusc RE: Will Owen Jun 7, 2005 09:10 PM

              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
                Hugh Lipton RE: Tusc Jun 7, 2005 11:20 PM


                1. re: Tusc
                  bibi rose RE: Tusc Jun 8, 2005 04:06 PM

                  I like the Sand Dabs too.

            2. re: woofer
              Bacco Mamma RE: woofer Jun 7, 2005 08:55 PM

              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. c
              condiment RE: avli2 Jun 7, 2005 09:05 PM

              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
                rainey RE: condiment Aug 2, 2006 09:56 PM

                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
                  ricflair RE: rainey Apr 11, 2007 02:13 AM

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

                2. re: condiment
                  Golem RE: condiment Apr 11, 2007 07:31 AM

                  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
                    aurora50 RE: Golem Apr 11, 2007 09:29 AM

                    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. d
                  dwg RE: avli2 Jun 8, 2005 02:03 AM


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

                  Link: http://www.ablowtothehead.blogspot.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dwg
                    TomSwift RE: dwg Jun 8, 2005 02:43 PM

                    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. t
                    Tom P RE: avli2 Jun 8, 2005 09:36 AM

                    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
                      Kathy RE: Tom P Jun 8, 2005 08:43 PM

                      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.

                    2. j
                      Just Cid RE: avli2 Jun 8, 2005 12:44 PM

                      M&F always seems to me to be like a themed-restaurant, the type of which you'd find at a Disney theme park.

                      The old decor, the waiters that play their surly part (maybe they're surly in their real lives?), its all part of the experience.

                      I go for the steak, myself. And to feel like its still Old Hollywood. Are there better steak places? Definitely, but this one is fun.


                      1. m
                        Mike Berry RE: avli2 Jun 11, 2005 04:23 PM

                        I don't want to rain on anybody's parade (I love my fellow Chowhounds!), but I vote in favor of a drink -- and perhaps an appetizer? -- at Musso and Frank and then eating dinner elsewhere.

                        Musso and Frank, as others have noted, is an EXPERIENCE. It's like walking back in time, and that's fun...

                        But I was certainly disappointed in the menu...and what I ordered.

                        I tried the "famous" Caesar salad. (Caesar salads are a staple of mine that I tend to always order.) Personally, I was disappointed.

                        I particularly enjoyed the comment by the immediate past poster who wrote that M&F has an old-Hollywood menu at 2005 prices. Well said. :)

                        1. therealbigtasty RE: avli2 Jul 21, 2006 08:32 AM

                          Love this place. I live a few blocks away and try to get a martini there every few months. For a long time I couldn't go there because they were closed on my days off (I'm a bartender, so mondays and tuesdays were days off).

                          I had the "Hamburger Sandwich" there and it was incredible. At around twelve bucks it was a tad pricy, but it was literally three quarters of a pound of rare beef sitting atop these cute little toast points.

                          On the side were five large onion rings and five large french fries.

                          It was a good time.

                          1. h
                            Hunter RE: avli2 Aug 2, 2006 08:33 PM

                            How can you not love this place? Geez, Raymond Chandlier's ghost is sitting at the bar. I think the sand dabs have a cult following.

                            1. e
                              Ernie RE: avli2 Aug 2, 2006 08:43 PM

                              Steaks are good at M&F, and I like to order it with a side of their very traditional Bernaise sauce. I love their hearts of romaine salad with the Roquefort vinaigrette too.

                              1. c
                                Curiosa RE: avli2 Aug 2, 2006 08:57 PM

                                Old style Hollywood goodness with excellent steak and no substitutions. I saw a waiter there give the dirtiest look to a busboy who accidently bumped him.

                                1. j
                                  JPomer RE: avli2 Aug 2, 2006 09:10 PM

                                  You must go to Musso. For a perfect meal, have: martinis, grilled lamb chops, mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JPomer
                                    eartha RE: JPomer Aug 2, 2006 09:48 PM

                                    I agree on the grilled lamb chops, so delicious. Once sat at a table across from Raymond Burr(after his size had increased substantially). He ordered a steak, very thick, and cut it with his fork. Could kick myself for not asking our waiter what cut of steak it was.

                                  2. h
                                    Hackenbush RE: avli2 Aug 3, 2006 01:41 AM

                                    Musso's is a great place to eat. The steaks are great and I've also enjoyed anything on the daily menu that said it was braised.

                                    They don't put it on the menu but some nights, they have a stuffed baked potato for patrons who know enough to ask for it. It's quite good.

                                    If they don't have that, ask them about their thick cut french fries. Most nights, they have two kinds and if you don't specify, they bring you the thinner kind. The thick are worth trying at least once.

                                    1. j
                                      jessejames RE: avli2 Aug 3, 2006 01:59 AM

                                      This place is so much cooler and so much better than any nouveau place in hollywood a la hungry cat...i agree with the posters, great steaks/chops, sides, cocktails and service...historic atmosphere...don't come looking for some foo foo foix gras california cuisine bs and don't expect them to be good at it...menu has 100's of classics...turkey tetrazini is tasty, lamb chops, prime rib, rib eyes...my favorite there and noone else in town even close is the delish crispy sweetbread dish...we get this as an appetizer for all...just chill out and enjoy this place and don't expect it to be some modern bs....

                                      1. annalulu RE: avli2 Oct 23, 2006 12:57 AM

                                        I decided to add to an old thread, I finally went to Musso and Frank, my first time! I've only lived here 5 years, but I wish I hadn't waited so long.

                                        for one thing, it was far more laid back than I expected. My date was worried about wearing a T shirt, but I think it would have been okay. Our waiter SEEMED gruff, but he gladly answered every question (especially important to the vegetarian in the party) and everything was served with flourish. The water was constantly re-filled and my lamb chops were divine. I giggled at the sight of two small ramekins of green mint jelly! It was delightful! I LOVE mint jelly, but who has nerve to ask at a "fancy" place!? Their 1000 Island dressing was superb (yes, odd to order it a la carte, but almost worth it.)

                                        Of course, I arrived early so I could sit at the famous bar with the true masters of mixology. I waited a long time to have my first vodka martini because I wanted it to be "the best" This was indeed a wonderful, smooth drink. And at $7.50 for a full glass, three huge olives, and a sidecar for refills, I was truly charmed by the experience. The patrons at the bar are great company as well.

                                        This place is a gem. Real meat and potatoes and the atmosphere can't be beat. OH, and parking for 2 hours in the lot for only $2.25 is the bargain of Hollywood.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: annalulu
                                          sing me a bar RE: annalulu Oct 23, 2006 03:41 AM

                                          For many old timers in Hollywood, Musso's is THE place, and it isn't so much about the food. There used to be a floating poker game in a back room attended by Errol Flynn and other film luminaries in the olden days. Keith Richards or Mr. Depp go there because we all have amazing memories associated with the place and the staff. It was where we went when we had success, where we had a drink with some of L.A.'s most famous bartenders. The flannel cakes were a fave of an old director I knew who had been a regular since the 40's. Order from the grill, ask for Sergio, (he is a classic waiter!), and have fun!

                                        2. s
                                          SinDee RE: avli2 Oct 24, 2006 06:44 PM

                                          Help! 2 of us couples are going there Friday night for Dirty Martinis but we don't want to have a full sit-down dinner. Do they serve food in the bar/have a bar menu? Has anyone ever seen an online menu for Musso & Franks? I know their drinks are pretty strong so it would be good to have something to soak up the alcohol whilst there.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: SinDee
                                            Ernie RE: SinDee Oct 24, 2006 06:45 PM

                                            They do not have a bar menu and I have never seen anyone eat at the bar

                                            1. re: SinDee
                                              JBC RE: SinDee Oct 24, 2006 07:08 PM

                                              Yes they have an on-line menu (and you can print it out on 1 page):


                                              The Obvious - Just call & ask if it's o.k. to eat at the bar.

                                              1. re: JBC
                                                luvtweet RE: JBC Apr 9, 2007 03:26 PM

                                                Musso's is wonderful,(mostly I think for it's history and great service), but I'm not too crazy about everything being a la carte ,esp.at dinner.Gets very expensive-- and the food, as mentioned on several of the above posts, is not stellar.

                                                1. re: luvtweet
                                                  aurora50 RE: luvtweet Apr 9, 2007 03:41 PM

                                                  The ala carte stuff is part of what this restaurant is about!! This is the way they used to do it, plain and simple.
                                                  - I've sworn to myself that when I have my first martini, I will have it at the bar, from Manuel. I only hope he will still be there when I'm ready --

                                            2. r
                                              revets2 RE: avli2 Apr 10, 2007 03:56 AM

                                              it's not hype. if you love "old hollywood", this is the place to be.

                                              our faves: gibson, lamb chops, potatoes lyonnaise, floating island dessert.

                                              1. h
                                                holybull RE: avli2 Apr 10, 2007 03:57 PM

                                                I love the Mac and Cheese here

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