The Musso and Frank Grill is located in beautiful Hollywood, California on the iconic Hollywood Boulevard, and they have been serving their renowned meals virtually unchanged for the past 100 years. It opened in 1919 by Frank Toulet, Joseph Musso, and French chef Jean Rue who joined a few years later. They quickly escalated in popularity, and since then they have been known worldwide for their excellent food, impeccable service, and celebrity patrons.
Here is a small taste of the celebrities who often dined there: Marilyn Monroe, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, Steve McQueen, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and famed writers F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Bukowski, and Raymond Chandler. In current times, stars such as Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, and director Quentin Tarantino frequent this place. Musso and Frank's has been THE place for Hollywood's greatest artists to enjoy Hollywood's greatest food.
Do not let the celebrity clientele intimidate you, because everyone is welcome! The restaurant is open to all, and is not an ultra-exclusive joint nor is it difficult to reserve a table ahead of time. I have always been an old Hollywood geek and dreamed about going to this spot for years. I finally had the honor of dining there twice in July 2019 while on vacation in Hollywood. The waiters treat each and every person like a celebrity. Upon sitting down, after minutes of admiring the nearly unchanged surroundings, they were happy to point out famous booths, such as Marilyn's and Chaplin's.
Now on to the most important part, the thing that brings people to Musso's - the food!
You should to start off with a drink, if you'd like. Musso's is known for their outstanding classic martinis. They are served with a sidecar reserve big enough to make three martinis. Oh yes, three martinis for the price of one. Are you tempted yet? I had mine with Grey Goose vodka, and it was nothing short of heavenly.
Musso & Frank's runs on tradition and class. In many modern restaurants in the USA, patrons are not seated with a tall glass of ice water and a heap of freshly baked bread, that which was standard "in the old days" - but you are treated to that here. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your beginning nibbles as you scan the menu.
The menu revolves around comfort-type foods. On Thursdays they serve their special of chicken pot pie, numerous cuts of mouth-watering steaks are listed, and a blend of Italian and English delicacies paint the rest of the menu, including Chicken Parmigiana and savory roasts.
I cannot dive in to everything my family and I ordered, but I will tell you the best bits. Please note the photos of food from here on are not mine.
The Fettuccine Alfredo recipe came straight from Italy via power couple of the 1920's Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. They were on their honeymoon when they had this dish at the original Alfredo's and persistently asked for the recipe. They brought it back to Musso and Frank's in 1927 where it was prepared for them. It could be said the couple are responsible for popularizing the pasta dish in the States, although there were other American travelers raving about it at the time. This is one of the meals I had, and I highly doubt I will ever have something better until I find myself in Italy. Freshly made noodles, butter, and Parmesan cheese are all you really need in this simple plate. Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo is never made with cream. Grilled chicken is optional, which I left out.
If you are in the mood for an American bite to eat, their French Dip sandwich is an excellent choice. The French Dip was invented right in Los Angeles, California! The sandwich is served on a crusty baguette (the only reason it's called "French") and topped with the most tender and tasty roast beef known to man. Along with the beef broth dip, or au jus, on the side, comes a helping of homemade potato chips. Why not dig in to a Los Angeles-born meal right in the heart of it all?
After you have enjoyed a fulfilling meal, you may feel like dessert would be too much. Trust me on this one - you do not want to pass up their chocolate mousse cake, even if you take it home with you. But please, stay a little longer in the iconic red booth, order a cup of coffee, and enjoy the evening out. Their chocolate mousse cake is delectable. The moist and rich chocolate cake is layered with fluffy, sweet chocolate mousse, making for pure bliss in every bite. The calories don't even matter at this point. A trip to Musso and Frank's is a special occasion, and it is worth treating yourself. You can walk it off later by strolling up and down Hollywood Boulevard.
As you finish the last luscious bite of chocolate mousse cake, and you're interested in more recent news regarding the restaurant as you take in your remaining time, you might want to know that Quentin Tarantino filmed part of his latest movie "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" there! A scene in the film includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Al Pacino sitting in one of the two dining rooms, and it is visible in the trailer. This restaurant means so much to Hollywood, and it was imperative for Tarantino to include it in his film dedicated to the city. Here is a little side by side view of the scene from the trailer, and my own photo. (Excellent movie by the way, though I am totally biased on all things Tarantino).
Even more recently, Musso and Frank's is about to be honored with their very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, right in front of their building at 6667 Hollywood Blvd. The ceremony, hosted by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, will celebrate the restaurant with an "award of excellence" on their 100th anniversary - September 27th, 2019. It will also be declared as "Musso and Frank Day" in the City of Los Angeles.
Most of the public's online reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and rightfully so. There are a few who felt like they waited too long for their meal to arrive at the table, and I wanted to touch on that. My family and I waited between 20-30 minutes, which I would not consider long for an upscale, famous, and busy restaurant. If you ever visit Musso and Frank's, I hope that you use the time to take in the history of where you are sitting. This restaurant was there in the beginning of Hollywood, that fed the actors, writers, and directors who created so much of the entertainment we appreciate and love around the world. They had drinks while they wrote scripts and made movie deals. Please, take the time to look around (there's good pictures and old menus if you exit through the back door), ask your waiter for some stories, and do some research on your phone as you wait. While the food is undeniably superb, the history in the walls makes it all that more special.
Lunch with Leo and Brad, anyone?
Musso and Frank Grill official website:
More about their upcoming honor: