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Musso & Frank: Love It or Hate It.

  • c

I love it. But I may be in the minority on this board. Here's why I love the place:
1. The food is consistent and well prepared.
2. The portions are more than ample. I usually take home half of my meal.
3. Every menu item i have experienced has always been spot on. My current favorites are the fried oysters, calves liver w/ grilled onions, flannel cakes, chicken pot pie, and for dessert, the torten. I also love to drink Arnold Palmer's. Their bardenders know how to make them better than any other restaurant I know.
4. Food aside, the place is quiet. You can actually have a conversation without raising your voice.
5. They are open all day. No such thing as a lunch menu or dinner menu.
Just one extensive menu, day or evening. Hungry at 3pm? No problem.
6. The waiters and management are professional and friendly, without being obtrusive.
7. They have free parking for 2 hours in their own private parking lot. The attendants are careful with every vehicle they park. You won't find new dents or scratches when you return.
8. I am a sucker for nostalgia, especially vintage Hollywood style. This place reeks of silent screen and early talkies movie stars.
9. If you are alone , you have the option to sit in a small booth or their elegant counter. Diners at the counter tend to chat with each other about their favorite menu items. It's fun.

Please share your Musso Frank dining experiences, both good and bad,

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  1. I went there once and it was hideous.

    2 Replies
    1. re: aventinus

      Would you be willing to explain what made the experience terrible?

      1. re: cujo

        Years ago, when I worked in Hollywood I'd go there for lunch every chance I got and it was delish. I went ther about a month ago. The sand dabs tasted like they came frozen from Trader Joes and they were not cheep. The rest rooms were gross. The place seemed old and not clean. The place needs a face lift and the kitchen needs to be restored to its former glory. Of course it was quiet. Like a morgue.

    2. Ok, where to begin ...

      1. The food is consistent and well prepared.
      >>> It certainly is consistent. And it is prepared. As to "well"? Well, that's a whole 'nother issue.

      2. The portions are more than ample. I usually take home half of my meal.
      >>> There's a reason you take home half of your meal. People usually make room -- at the restaurant -- for delicious food. That egg, guanicale pizza at Mozza? I would finish that thing if I had just scarfed down two egg salad sandwiches at EuroPane.

      3. Every menu item i have experienced has always been spot on. My current favorites are the fried oysters, calves liver w/ grilled onions, flannel cakes, chicken pot pie, and for dessert, the torten. I also love to drink Arnold Palmer's. Their bardenders know how to make them better than any other restaurant I know.
      >>> The bartenders do tend to do the classics quite well. Get them out of their comfort zone, however, and you might as well be drinking a blind mule.

      4. Food aside, the place is quiet. You can actually have a conversation without raising your voice.
      >>> Places with small crowds do tend to be on the sedate side.

      5. They are open all day. No such thing as a lunch menu or dinner menu.
      Just one extensive menu, day or evening. Hungry at 3pm? No problem.
      >>> Same could be said for Denny's or the Original Pantry Cafe.

      6. The waiters and management are professional and friendly, without being obtrusive.
      >>> Ok, if you say so.

      7. They have free parking for 2 hours in their own private parking lot. The attendants are careful with every vehicle they park. You won't find new dents or scratches when you return.
      >>> The parking is a nice option. But I never, stress never, ever give my car to a valet. Never.

      8. I am a sucker for nostalgia, especially vintage Hollywood style. This place reeks of silent screen and early talkies movie stars.
      >>> I am too. But even I've finally given up on my Member's Only jacket, however.

      9. If you are alone , you have the option to sit in a small booth or their elegant counter. Diners at the counter tend to chat with each other about their favorite menu items. It's fun.
      >>> Dining at the bar, or at a chatty bar, is not unique to Musso & Frank.

      17 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        They are very busy in the evening, especially on Friday & Saturday. If you don't have a reservation, you have to wait a very long time.
        You don't need a jacket. No one wears one, except for the waiters. The jacket requirement was discontinued about 10 years ago.. When you last there?
        Curious about what happened with your drink. What did you order that was beyond the bartender's expertise? A brandy alexander? A ramos fizz? a milk punch?

        1. re: cujo

          Uh, what?

          When did I say there was a jacket requirement?

          1. re: ipsedixit

            What did you mean by "a members only jacket"? I assumed you meant you couldn't get in without a jacket. I have vivid memories of Scandia seriously enforcing this rule.

            1. re: cujo

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Members_...

              Ipsedixit's apparently too subtle way of saying the place has gone out of style... Though Members Only was relaunched and had a resurgence in the last decade. You could argue that to be the case with the restaurant.

              1. re: PeterCC

                Hmmm....Ipsedixit speaks a code that I don't understand..Thanks for interpreting.

                I'm interested in knowing which menu items the Chowhounds found objectionable and why.

                So far, only one person has named a menu item that he disliked, Sand Dabs. I still don't know why. Was it over cooked, undercooked or not adequately deboned?

                If you were served a mediocre alcoholic beverage, which one? And what made it mediocre?

                I get it. Many folks feel Musso's is passe. And they are correct. That is the very reason that Diane Keaton,Johnny Depp, Keifer Sutherland (and many other recognizable faces choose to dine there).
                There are no autograph hunters or paparazzi. This is not a place that celebrities go "to be seen." It's a place they go to for a very good meal and a stiff drink (or two, three, etc) without being hassled.
                And that is the real secret to their longevity and loyal customers.

                So how about it, Chowsters, please post what you ordered that you disliked and why. On the remote chance that one of you actually enjoyed your meal, please post what you ordered

                1. re: cujo

                  Hmmm....

                  Belvedere martini w/3 olives dry and liver &onions please...

                  When was D Keaton last seen there? Just curious.

                  1. re: latindancer

                    Hey, folks, we removed a number of posts here that were a little off-topic and getting pretty testy. We hope people will refocus on the restaurant. Thanks!

              2. re: cujo

                Member's Only jackets were all the rage in the 1980s... I'm sure ipse was using it as a metaphor, meaning just beacuse it's vintage doesn't mean it's good.
                Images of the jacket in question:
                http://images.search.yahoo.com/search...

                1. re: iluvcookies

                  Uh oh. I'm in big trouble. I have a closet filled with those jackets. My bad. Who knew?

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    The reference to guys wearing "Members Only" jackets was shorthand speak to describe d-bags back in the eighties.

                    Wannabe cool posers, much the same as the "hipster" of now, with their "ironic" knit caps and tats.

                    Different generation, same old same old

                  2. re: cujo

                    That's a style of jacket from the 80s I believe. There's no jacket requirement that I have ever known since I've been going there.

                    1. re: kevin

                      I'd make a joke about a "straight jacket" but these days I have to watch my P's and C's and not live out my Bill Maher fantasies...

              3. re: ipsedixit

                I really dislike valets too. However, what do you do to avoid valets? Park blocks away at a meter and walk?

                1. re: jgilbert1000

                  I pay them to park my own car in their lot.

                  It's a win-win. They get paid, and I get to baby my car.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    My husband does the same thing.

                    I'm now doing it after watching the last guy return my car imagining he was driving the Indy 500...tires screeching and all. That and nobody confessing to the fact my Bose headphones were gone and another time having to threaten calling the police until somebody (in a 'round about way) finally returned my iPhone when I tracked it and it was behind their counter.
                    Yeah, I'm stupid.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      OK, not about food, which makes this Off Topic, but I heartily agree with ipsedixit about not using valet parking.

                      We have had two cars stolen in the past, so no more.

                      1. re: Gypsy Jan

                        Wow.

                        It's sad. But Mussos is one of the only places I valet my jalopy. Probably because street parking or nearby residential parking is beyond difficult.

                2. I end up there once a year and each time I go in with a positive attitude and hope that it has finally changed in a good direction.

                  And each time my hopes are dashed on the rocks of disappointment. And I try to order safe food - that is - nothing too ambitious. Like...uh...toast.

                  Last time I went, I met an old friend for dinner. Someone I'd been told had "flipped out" and disappeared. He didn't seem any nuttier than usual, but had a young Russian wife - who had such weird plastic surgery, it actually affected my appetite.

                  Which, by the way, is SO Musso! A freak show.

                  The time before that was a group of old friends (from high school days) getting together to hang with with this one friend who back in the day was a handsome surfer with a build like a Greek god. He got into a prestigious acting class - and his comrades almost all became well-know stars. But he was the one everyone thought was going to hit. But he did flip out. At dinner he was overweight, balding and missing his two front teeth and his shirt was stained. A guy with so much promise now looked like a homeless indigent.

                  Musso!

                  I've had better experiences, but these last two experiences pretty much sum up Musso & Frank for me.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                    You told me about your flipped out friends. It's entertaining but you didn't mention what menu items you ordered that you didn't like.
                    I have to agree with you about the freak show. Keith Richards eats there every day..He holds the freak title.

                    1. re: cujo

                      " Keith Richards eats there every day..He holds the freak title."

                      The freak apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

                      As to the food at Musso, it isn't cutting edge anything, but I'll still go for their flannel cakes once a year and I wouldn't be afraid to eat dinner there. It's just 90's cooking (1890's that is) personified.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Their Thursday night special Chicken Pot Pie still makes me very happy after all these years. The definition of true comfort food.

                          1. re: cujo

                            Maybe with a slight reworking of the "Big Yellow Taxi" lyrics we can drill down to the core of this debate.

                            "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone. They paved paradise and put up an SBE/Bill Chait/David Myers/Vinny & John 'Shooktolo' restaurant."

                        1. re: cujo

                          Point is - Musso's isn't about the food, but the weird scene.

                          I usually get the prime rib. But it's not very good. I don't recommend anything. (I have an ex girlfriend who would swear by the sand dabs - which I got once. Nothing exciting there either).

                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                            "Musso's isn't about the food, but the weird scene."

                            well, then that would make mussos as far from a fossil as it gets, wouldnt it?
                            sounds pretty cutting edge to me.

                      2. I actually love Musso & Frank, not for the food but for old LA nostalgia.

                        The meals I've had there are hit or miss but I adore the bar. For the bar alone they should stay open.

                        I have always been fascinated by one of their appetizers ... I have never tried it but I'm always curious: celery stalks stuffed with cream cheese topped with a black olive.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                          I have never tried it but I'm always curious: celery stalks stuffed with cream cheese topped with a black olive.
                          ____________

                          Isn't that like Lesson 1 in Home Economics for 5th graders?

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Yeah, so why is it on the menu? Or why is it STILL on the menu?

                            It should have come of in the 1960s.

                            1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                              The celery stalks are stuffed with roquefort and cream cheese.
                              They are a favorite of folks who drink bloody mary's and martini's. It's a signature appetizer. I'm not a drinker and I have never tried the item. However, I have friends who go there regularly just for the stuffed celery and stiff drinks.

                              1. re: cujo

                                Thanks.

                                Their martinis are amazing. I may just have to try that next time. Now I'm wondering why they don't have it at the Pacific Dining Car on 6th.

                                1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                  Good question. I believe Musso's is the only restaurant in Los Angeles that serves that item. I have no idea why..

                                  1. re: cujo

                                    I haven't eaten celery sticks with cheese since I was a kid and don't really have a desire to eat them anymore, Roquefort cheese or no.

                                    1. re: granadafan

                                      Reminds me of the relish tray that they serve as a complimentary starter at the Dal Rae https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1G1... and which I really enjoy each time.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Dal Rae is another of my favorite restaurants. Old school and great food. I also love Lochober's in Boston and the old Luchows in NYC.

                                        1. re: cujo

                                          Dal Rae? Now you're talken. I've been wanting to go there for quite some time. A classic restaurant with classic food. Roast Duck looks good, plus a relish tray, table side caesar salad. If you still enjoy Musso, then go...and wear one of your Members Only jackets. Vintage is always in.

                        2. I will never understand why all of the love for their martinis. Nothing special. If I want a really great martini, I'll go to The Brentwood. Now, they make a damn good martini.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: maudies5

                            We all have our favorite, secret and quiet places to sit at the bar and nurse a martini...,
                            Mine was, always will be, The Hamlet on Sunset, in the privacy of those who cared enough to keep things private and know their clients.
                            That's Musso's for many and always has been.