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Branching out at Musso & Franks

I love Musso's, have been going for years. I always get the same things: Martini; Caesar Salad (or occasionally the romaine salad with the wonderful Blue Cheese Vinaigrette); Filet or Pork Chop or Sand Dabs, all wonderful; Baked or fries and creamed spinach. So I've been trying to branch out here and there to try some of the other items. Last year I became hooked on their macaroni au gratin. Wow. Is that terrific. Different… it's made with bucatini. But it is wonderful. Another new discovery: the boneless whole chicken with garlic. Incredible. An entire chicken, deboned but still looks exactly like a small chicken, roasted and served with an amazing au jus and tons of soft roasted garlic cloves. Divine.

Saturday a friend and I resolved to try all new things. Well, almost all new. I had a martini still, always will. But everything else was new… and excellent!

Lobster and Shrimp Bisque: The special soup of the day. Very rich. Wonderful. Lots of sherry and cream. Yum.

Musso and Frank's special salad: While I am not sure it was worth the 20 bucks, it was very good. Romaine, artichoke hearts and diced avocado, tossed lightly in their french dressing. Crisp lettuce and the avocado was divine, could not have been more ripe and perfect.

Chicken a la King: Everything you could want with such a dish, even served with toast points. I loved this and will get it again and again.

Grenadines of Beef: Filet medallions topped with Bernaise, served over a bed of wonderful brown sauce. I am not sure what the brown sauce was but it was really good. Both of these entrees were very rich. Not a complaint! Just a note :)

Lyonnaise potatoes: ok, if you like chunks of potatoes sautéed with onions, not hash browns at all, much better, this is for you. Wow. These were GOOD.

Sauteed Baby Spinach: this I have had before but my friend wanted to try. It's relatively new and it is excellent. Baby spinach perfectly sautéed with slivers of garlic.

It did my heart well to see the restaurant packed to the gills Saturday night, still thriving when we left at 10 PM. I love this place, love the changes the younger family members have made while keeping it still the classic restaurant it has always been.

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  1. You and me are in the minority on Musso's.

    Btw, is the old bartender still there, Manny ? He usually only works the daytime shift a couple days a week, maybe on the weekends. ????

    Anyhow, what I like there:

    Grenadine of beef with bernaise sauce. French fried potatoes to dip in the bernaise sauce.

    Mac n cheese.

    avocado coctails.

    crab cocktails.

    Crab Louise.

    Bread and butter pudding with strawberries.

    Bouillabaise is ok, though not the real thing by any measure. Though I really like the stock in that sucker.

    Sauteed sand dabs.


    Open faced turkey sandwich topped with gravy.

    and of course the infamous flannel cakes.

    Though many hounds and others despise the joint to a Tee and others only like the joint for drinks.

    Sit at the bar, revel in the old style atmosphere and have a half dozen or more martini's and you are good to good, especially on a lazy Friday afternoon

    5 Replies
    1. re: kevin

      Used to love the open face turkey. Great fries with that.

      1. re: Thor123

        Though I have to say the old things I have here usally are the crab and the fries and the flannel cakes.

        And of course, the martinis.

          1. re: Servorg

            That's him.

            But the article is from over a year and a couple months ago.

            He wasn't there a few months ago like Aug or Sep 2013 and one of the waiters said he was ill.

            So just was hoping he was still ok and there.

      2. re: kevin

        Perfect Friday afternoon indeed! And Manny is indeed still there! He is known for, among other things, making the best Caesar of anyone.

      3. nice report.

        i love it there too...sweetbreads, lobster thermador, lamb chops...oh and a few drinks

        1. We were there Sat nite too. When I saw lobster and shrimp bisque I was going to ask.

          I had the shrimp louie salad. It had an very generous amount of shrimp. I'm not a fan of 1000 island dressing but not their fault that's how a shrimp louie is prepared…

          My husband was ready to order the short ribs but they were out (it was after 10p). Ordinarily, he targets his visits for chicken pot pie. He loves the flannel cakes too.

          And who has a menu with sooo many items?!

          It was great to see both rooms full. I don't know the last time I've seen that.

          Oh, on other occasions I've found their ratatouille surprisingly good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rainey

            I love the chicken pot pie as well! I've always been curious about the Shrimp Louie...

          2. We went to a show at the Egyptian, our first time there, and I noticed that M&F was practically right across the street. Well, it was long closed when we finally got out, but I think if we were to see something shorter than "Lawrence of Arabia" we might not have to default to Fred 62 for supper. Not that I hate Fred, but a wider menu and good drinks would sure be nice.

            We've been there exactly once, almost thirty years ago, when we were visiting from Nashville and Mrs. O was showing her portfolio to all the hot art directors. We had just drinks and sandwiches, but very good drinks and sandwiches, and swore we'd be back. About damned time, I think.

            1. Hi Tom,

              Not fair to be reading this post of yours when I've got 3 hours until dinner :)

              Kidding aside, you have single handedly made me decide to veer from the ONLY thing I order when at Musso and Frank's, namely their fillet. We're in total agreement about their Martini's, so this won't change....but you've got me jones'ing for the boneless and garlic laden chicken. Who'd have guessed this even existed? On the other hand, I guess that's what reading a menu is for...it's just been so consistent for me to order their chiffonade salad, and fillet.

              I'll save the garlic sauteed spinach for the next time I get their fillet :)

              Wonderful post!


              1 Reply
              1. re: JeffW

                Thanks, Jeff! It is hard to veer from that filet! Ultimately, get what you like, right? Anytime I am convinced to try another type drink, I tend to sit there wishing I had a martini :) If you try something new, let us know...

              2. Still love their Thursday night special Chicken Pot Pie.

                6 Replies
                1. re: wienermobile

                  This is something I've always wondered about. As a boy, I remembered Swanson's chicken pot pies....the round ones. What I loved, was that it was a totally encased pot pie, meaning there was yummy crust to eat on the bottom. Does Musso Frank's rendition have a bottom crust. Not a deal breaker by any means, but I've been curious.

                  1. re: JeffW

                    Top crust only. Marie Callender's has the whole crust.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      Yep, I remember those pies too! Dig your monicker, as I've got happy memories of when the wienermobile would occasionally visit Los Angeles. Fun for a kid. Sorry for the off topic remark....I LOVE Musso's.

                      1. re: JeffW

                        Thanks. I would always go to our local markets to meet Little Oscar, get a free wiener whistle and peer into the real wienermobile.

                        1. re: wienermobile

                          Saw it fairly recently in The Arts District of all places.

                2. Has anyone tried their "Musso’s Sourdough Loaf" they advertise to-go if possible?

                  I am going through a sour dough bread phase and find my options for quality sour dough very limited. I'd love to add Musso's.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                    Great bread that they serve table side but I didn't know they sold it to go.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      Last item on the menu under "Potatoes, Vegetables & Sides:


                      I have a birthday coming up this week. Maybe time for a visit.

                  2. The full list of weekly specials:
                    Corned Beef and Cabbage 24
                    Sauerbraten with Potato Pancakes 24
                    Homemade Chicken Pot Pie 23
                    Bouillabaisse Marseillaise with Shrimp, Lobster, Mussels, Clams and Cod 36
                    Braised Short Ribs of Beef with Mixed
                    Vegetables 31

                    1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mussos. Okay, so I admit, a big part of this is for nostalgia reasons (it was Uncle George's favorite place) but there's also a part for historical reasons (there's me at the bar with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Budd Schulberg!!) but I also love the food. Well, the food I get!

                      I like the good old-fashioned liver and onions (and I add bacon). It's a terrible, terrible thing for my health, but I prob. eat it LESS than once a year. I also HAVE to have a martini (one has to at Mussos!) and it has to be gin (sorry Vodkaophiles -- you're too young).

                      A close friend of mine gets the sand dabs when we go. My husband is perplexed by the place and its long menu.(He also has never eaten liver!) But I just love it.

                      Yes, it's not a deal (as in, not inexpensive); no,it's not well kept up (but I like it that way); and no, the food has yet to melt in my mouth. But I also have never encountered the infamous rude service (never) and it has very easy/safe parking. It is old L.A.; it is Raymond Chandler; and it is wonderful.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: susiequeue

                        I will have to try the liver sometime!

                        Thanks for all the responses. Glad the place is getting some love.

                        1. re: Tom P

                          My Musso Frank fantasy, but I don't know if I have the resolve to act on it. The last time we were there, our "attitude" had been adjusted before being sat...and then we ordered Martini's. In other words, just so happy :) It was a typical evening of great food and nice treatment, not to mention that I dig the people watching aspect of this place. I thought it would be a kick to earmark my restaurant dollars (and the rare hiatus from our home kitchen) to spend one solid week of going to Musso Franks, not opening the menu, and ordering their daily special for the nights they are open. And then I would write about it on Chow. Oh, the things we ponder when attitudes have been adjusted!

                          1. re: JeffW

                            I use the "attitude adjustment" phrase frequently. I wonder how commonplace it's use is?

                            1. re: JeffW

                              I have that same fantasy! Maybe one day….

                              1. re: Tom P

                                It was that "pre Musso Frank" attitude adjustment....I get so danged creative :)

                          2. Your post got me craving a Musso's martini (I don't know how they make them so smooth!), so I made the trek out there for an early dinner. It's been close to ten years since I was last there, and I was looking forward to my usual
                            Musso's dinner--Welsh Rarebit. I started with their soup of the day, which was a delicious warm Vichyssoise, then I had their French green beans with mushrooms, also great, and the Welsh Rarebit. I was so disappointed. The Welsh Rarebit was watery and had little flavor. Because everything else was wonderful, and the service was good, I will return to try other items on their menu, but I'm just so bummed that there's no place to get a good Welsh Rarebit in L.A.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: brandygirl

                              Hi Brandy. You have reminded me how much I love and miss Welsh Rarebit. I'm glad to read nice things about Musso's as my last visit for lunch was disappointing san dabs. Maybe I'll give the old place another time and order something else. Now, I'll be on the lookout for the Rarebit and report back. I wonder if Stoffers still makes it.

                              1. re: brandygirl

                                Hmmm. My daughter had the Welsh Rarebit at dinner on Saturday. She didn't rave about it but she didn't express a complaint. I'll have to ask her about it.

                                I do know when she ran out of toast she started borrowing her boyfriend's french fries for additional dipping. So it couldn't have been terribly disappointing….

                                BTW, I was missing Welsh rarebit some time ago and looked up Bittman's recipe. He suggested using up leftovers by spreading it, cold, on hot breakfast toast. YUM! It would even be worth making it just for the cold solidified cheesy goodness as an appetizer.

                                  1. re: Baron

                                    "Alton Brown has a recipe for rarebit"

                                    Cool! My point was sorta that cold leftover rarebit shouldn't be overlooked but I bet that's equally true of AB's. ;>

                                1. re: brandygirl

                                  Wow, good to know! I have always been curious about it. I am sorry on your return you had a disappointment but am glad everything else was great. BTW, as a former waiter (over ten years) I will say that most of the time, waiters are happy to return an item and get you something else!

                                  1. re: brandygirl

                                    Have you tried Tam O'Shanter's welsh rarebit, asked she who is not sure what a "good" welsh rarebit tastes like...

                                    1. re: susiequeue

                                      You just reminded me of another post a while back where I mentioned that there was nowhere else to get Welsh Rarebit, and posters told me about two places--Tam O'Shanter's and Ye Old King's Head. I was too busy at that time to visit those places, and then completely forgot about them. Thanks for the reminder!

                                  2. I will jump into this Musso & Frank lovefest and declare my love for this special place too. I find everything about M&F deeply comforting, from the servers to the smell and faint sizzling sounds coming from the grill in the Old Room. No matter how bad of a day I've had, once I slip into one of those old booths all is well in the world

                                    I usually get the porterhouse or NY strip with a side of their textbook-perfect Béarnaise and thin French fries. The hearts of romaine salad with their amazing Roquefort is also a staple

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: Ernie

                                      I like too, but we are in the minority here.

                                      I may just have to visit tonight.

                                      crab louise is a calling.

                                        1. re: jessejames

                                          These days sit at the bar for drinks.

                                          And also then move on to the counter to eat at.

                                          So usually to eat I like the room with the counter.

                                          And for drinks of course at the bar.

                                          But of course I'll also have drinks at the tables too.

                                          I like the curvey booths in the counter area better.

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            Both rooms so cool. I'm with u on drinks at bar. Then old room for food. That grill rocks

                                        2. re: kevin

                                          What exactly is the Crab Louie?

                                          1. re: Tom P

                                            They serve shrimp Louie, crab Louie and a combo Louie.

                                            "Louie" means whichever seafood is served on mixed greens with a hard boiled egg and Thousand Island dressing along with some other misc items.

                                            At MF the misc items are pickle spears, beet slices and some cold asparagus. And they're generous with the shellfish.

                                        3. re: Ernie

                                          "No matter how bad of a day I've had, once I slip into one of those old booths all is well in the world"

                                          that is exactly it.

                                          1. re: Tom P

                                            As Charles Butterworth's character quipped in "Every Day's a Holiday" back in 1937 -

                                            "You ought to get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini."

                                            1. re: Tom P

                                              I am not certain the name of the room where we prefer to sit, but it is the room towards the West. It's not the room with the bar. We like to request the booths along the wall....any of the booth #'s 3 through 8. The first 2 booths are a bit close to the entrance for my taste, but any from 3 on, are what we dig.

                                              All of this Musso's talk has me Jones'ing for heading there. Maybe next week.....but now I'm torn between the Fillet, and that boneless chicken with garlic. Guess I should stick to my word and definitely try that bird :)

                                              1. re: JeffW

                                                The room on the west side with the Grill is the original Old Room. I believe the Bar Room on the east side was added in the 1950s

                                                1. re: Ernie

                                                  Thanks Ernie. I like that designation "The Old Room". Easy enough to remember :)

                                          2. The reason the steaks are so great is they grill them in the evenings on the antiquarian grill, complete with delicious stains of crud, that was in operation since Woodrow Wilson was still just a babe shaking around in his little space boots.

                                            It's all that juice and crud that's been there for years.

                                            But on my recent visit just last night, the food was just way way way too heavy for me.

                                            Crab cakes doused in sauce, a whole loaf of bread buttered up comoletely, an avocado cocktail with thousand island dressing, and French fried potatoes with a side of bernaise sauce that I mopped up instantly.

                                            Too full to even breathe.

                                            And so it goes.

                                            Maybe have to hold off on it for some time.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: kevin

                                                You actually can eat there and not have it be too heavy: Caesar Salad, Grilled Filet, Sauteed Baby Spinach… perfect!

                                              2. How interesting that I have a similar experience with Musso & Frank. I enjoyed the very first entree of pork chops I had there so much that I never seem to be able to order anything else. I have been going since the 1970's - back when they gave you TWO pork chops per order instead of one - and I loved that dish so much I got locked into a groove. But after reading these testimonials I absolutely must try ordering something else. That chicken with garlic seems to be calling my name...

                                                Nice posts. Thank you to all the contributors here.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: prsc

                                                  I loved the double pork chops, too! I think they probably switched to the bigger single chop because so many of us were splitting the two chops :) Such amazing au jus with that pork chop!

                                                  1. re: Tom P

                                                    And how bout the ultra-thick French cut lamb chops ????