Eat It Jamaal: Musso and Frank Grill

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Welcome What’s Bruin Show listeners and readers, this is the first installment of the newest segment of the the What’s Bruin Show. For listeners of the show you know that at random times your illustrious hosts may randomly spout of by saying “Eat it Jamaal!!”

Most times you’ll here this when my Cal Bears are losing to the UCLA Bruins (although said phrase was not mentioned after last November’s football game), but now you the readers will actually get to know what I eat.

The first spot  we’ll be going to to is one of Los Angeles’ oldest restaurants, and it sits in the heart of Hollywood.  The Musso and Frank’s Grill has been in Los Angeles since 1919 the partnership of Frank Toulet and Joseph Musso.

Using a menu that is pretty much unchanged since then, Musso and Frank’s became a staple of Hollywood nightlife, as stars of the 20’s and 30’s could be seen eating breakfast together or having private meetings in their famed back room. In the 1950’s you could probably see baseball great having dinner with his even more famous wife Marilyn Monroe, while Frank Sinatra held court at the bar over cocktails.

Not only is Musso and Frank’s where old Hollywood met and dined, but some of America’s greatest writers sipped cocktails while producing literary works of art, most famous Raymond Chandler author of the “Big Sleep” and noir style books used Musso and Frank’s as his own personal writing room.

For a very special occasion (my wife’s birthday) I got to go to Musso and Frank’s Grill for the very first time as an Angeleno since birth.  Right away make sure you make reservations, when we arrived for our 8:30 pm reservation walk in customers were being told a table wouldn’t be available until 10:00 pm.

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More than likely you’ll have dinner in the “New” room which was opened in 1954 when the restaurant was expanded.  Right away you are steeped in old Hollywood as the maitre’d leads you to your booth, the kind that is large and red leathered probably unchanged since the days of Sinatra.  Waiters wore tuxedos in the that old world style giving the place an air of sophistication and tradition.

The menu is a traditional bistro type with many classics made to order.  You can still get the Crab Louie salad, Lamb kidneys with bacon, or Oyster stew.  Of course no dinner can start without cocktails.  I went with a classic martini with two olives, they make it with your gin or vodka of choice.  I went with Ketel One vodka and the great thing is it comes in a chilled carafe kept over ice so that you get more than one drink without having to pay twice.

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For dinner I started with the chef’s salad.  A huge plate of greens with julienned carrots and beets, simple yet delicious paired with blue cheese dressing.  We also ordered a cup of their lobster bisque which was the special soup of the evening.  A very creamy version that was pureed, so no big chunks of lobster met in the soup but definitely flavorful.

For the main course I went with the traditional prime rib of beef, served with a baked potato.  The prime rib is served medium with a baked potato.  The prime rib was a pretty big cut and had a good amount of fat on it.  Don’t be afraid of the fat that’s where all the flavor is coming from, and if you get a piece in your mouth it melts like butter.

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The prime rib came with the traditional horseradish sauce, it was creamy and if you got a good portion of it in your mouth it clears the sinuses.  For our shareable side order we went with the brussel sprouts served with pieces of pancetta.  The pancetta is a kind of Italian bacon that gave the brussel sprouts a nice salty taste neutralizing any bitter taste the sprouts may have.

There is a dessert menu with traditional desserts such as key lime pie and cheesecake, but this being my wife’s birthday we were treated to a complementary chocolate brownie al a mode with vanilla ice cream.  The brownie was warm and rich and you could taste melted chocolate chips.  It was perfectly paired with the cold vanilla ice cream.

I could not have enjoyed my first experience of Musso and Frank’s Grill more if I tried, treat yourself to a place filled with history and rich traditions that emphasizes simplicity to beloved classic American cuisine.  “Eat it Jamaal,” I sure did and would again.

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