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The Restaurant Guide 2003

The Survivor

June 22, 2003|S. Irene Virbila

Hollywood's oldest restaurant, Musso & Frank Grill, is practically pickled in tobacco and booze from less temperate decades, when F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett and other disaffected Hollywood writers made Musso's a home away from home. Some of the waiters look as if they go back that far; the youngsters are the ones who have been here only 30 years. While Hollywood business interests are intent on gussying up the famous boulevard with shopping malls, glitzy theaters and restaurants, Musso & Frank carries on much as it has for 84 years.

Like founding Parisian chef Jean Rue, the current chef, Michel Bourger, is also French. The menu remains unapologetically old-fashioned--Welsh rarebit, stuffed celery and diplomat pudding. Martinis come in diminutive thick-sided glasses with sidecars. Even the wine list is a throwback, with a separate section for California pioneer Beaulieu. The grill men really know what they're doing: Stick with grilled calf's liver with bacon, chops and steaks (while not prime, they'll pass). And for a late breakfast, don't pass up the kitchen's distinctive flannel cakes--a cross between a crepe and a pancake.

Musso's is still full of life, frequented by people who have been eating there for decades as well as newly minted hopefuls come to try their luck in Hollywood. So what's new? Nothing under the sun.--S.I.V.

Musso & Frank Grill, 6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 467-7788.

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