Musso & Frank

Review by: Michael Stern

When Musso and Frank opened for business in 1919, Hollywood was young and fresh and Hollywood Boulevard was a magic address. The boulevard went to honkytonk hell in a handbasket and is now trying to rebirth itself with entertainment complexes and shopping malls competing for attention with cheap souvenirs and hookers’ wig shops, but the moment you step inside Hollywood’s oldest restaurant, the battle of the lifestyles is left behind.

In a swivel chair at the old long counter with its view of the grill or ensconced in a plush leather booth, you are taken back to a world of old-fashioned meat-and-potatoes comfort food served by jacketed waiters, some of whom look like they’ve been here almost since the beginning.

The menu is huge, a legacy of the days deluxe restaurants offered hundreds of things to boast of their kitchen skills: a few dozen hot and cold hors d’oeuvre, sixteen omelets, ten kinds of potato (Julienne? Lyonnaise? Au gratin? Hash browns? Cottage fries? Et cetera.) Immemorial daily specials include corned beef and cabbage Tuesday, sauerbraten Wednesday, chicken pot pie Thursday, boullaibasse Friday, and braised short ribs Saturday. There’s all kinds of fish and a bunch of really retro entrees such as “spaghetti Italianene” and seafood chiffonade; but the truly great thing to eat at Musso’s is anything from the broiler: steaks, lamb chops (better yet, French-cut lamb chops), a profoundly flavorful liver steak, even a grill of kidneys and bacon. Many people eat the simplest possible lunch of flannel cakes (wafer-thin, plate-wide pancakes), which can also be had on the side of other things (but only until 3pm).

As you sip a Martini, Manhattan, Gibson, or Rob Roy in this wood-paneled Tudor enclave, chances are good you’ll spot some of the show biz celebrities who still come to Musso’s. Perhaps even more than you and us, they crave the powerful sense of normalcy this old grill radiates.

What To Eat

Flannel Cakes

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Fillets of Sanddabs

Caramel Custard

Sourdough Bread

French Dip

Jellied Consomme


Musso & Frank Recipes


What do you think of Musso & Frank?

2 Responses to “Musso & Frank”

Carrie Singer

November 13th, 2007

I agree with Michael Stern, but let me add some suggestions from one who has eaten at Musso & Frank from 1970 on. There is a large dining room in the back with linen-covered tables. This is the best place for dinner. The booths out front are for lunch. The counter is for singles and MS. If you want to see celebs, I suggest later dinner in the dining room on Saturday. Parking in the back.

The special on Saturday is short ribs. The best. So have them for lunch and save money, or spend a little and do them for dinner. The plate is a classic chophouse plate, with the ribs, the ubiquitous gravy (brown sauce), full-length green beans, and mashed potatoes. No garlic, no skins, no funny names, just very good mashed potatoes.

The drinks here are classic size and well-poured. They close on Saturday about 11 pm. The problem is nearby theaters (as in stage) get out between 10:30 and 10:45 pm. If your full order, including dessert, is not in to the kitchen by 10:45, “the chef will get a little testy.” So phone your order and your reservation in early. The Grille can always get another customer, but not necessarily another chef.


Cynthia M.

August 4th, 2007

While I agree that the food is very good and the atmosphere is great, the last time I visited Musso & Frank, the service was horrible. This is not a roadside diner with great prices where you’re happy to put up with surly servers; sometimes they can even be part of the charm. But for a restaurant that charges fairly high prices, nasty service is not acceptable.

We arrived about 45 minutes before the kitchen was to close (though the restaurant was to be open for a couple more hours). We asked whether they were still serving dinner; they said they were and seated the six of us. We were told that they would not make just about everything we wanted to order. The waiter was downright rude. If they weren’t ready to serve dinner to our party of six, they should not have seated us.

But, because it’s the oldest restaurant in Hollywood, it’s probably worth going once. This visit was not our first, but I suspect it will be our last.


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