Monday, May 02, 2022

Monday with Musso & Frank

It had been seven years since my last visit to the oldest restaurant in Hollywood, Musso & Frank Grill. Would it disappoint? Had it been tarnished by the pandemic like so many other places that allowed their customer service and quality to slip in order to recoup the losses?

As far as the food and drink go, the answer is a resoundingly positive “no”; you can expect the same delicious food that patrons have been experiencing since it opened in 1919.

The atmosphere has not changed, either. You can still expect to see the historic murals, the phone booths where gossip columnists phoned in their stories, and the signature red leather booths.

This is where all the news was first broken:

The wedge salad was out of this world; just the right balance of iceberg lettuce and tasty toppings:

The Chicken Parmesan was tender and delicious; definitely one of the best I have ever had.

I tried the new signature desert, the Club 1919 Sundae, named after the year the restaurant was founded. It’s the Musso and Frank take on Bananas Foster, made with California ice cream. It’s all in the details.

Note the anniversary drink stirrer, celebrating the 100 year anniversary (well, technically 103 years, but the pandemic obviously screwed everything up).

The one disappointment had to do with the staff. Our waiter had been there for six years, but I can’t say that’s a positive thing. Perhaps Josh was having a bad night. He forgot to bring my cocktail; once reminded, he rushed off to get it and promptly brought it back without an apology. At the end of the meal (with no checking in after our dinners were served), he hastily dumped a complimentary dessert in front of me saying it was for forgetting my drink. While it was nice to have the free dessert, his lack of service during the meal was not customary for the Musso & Frank I experienced in the past. One other sour note came from General Manager, Andrea Scuto. I walked Melissa (aka “The Colonel”) to the restroom so she wouldn’t get lost. The previous time I was at Musso & Frank in 2015, I took pictures of the architectural details (as I so often do). The Manager on duty at the time came up to me and offered to give me a tour around while I took my photos and even explained many of the historic details that I would have missed had he not done so. That was not the case with Scuto. He told me in no uncertain terms that I should not be taking photos as it was not allowed. While I understand the policy (to protect certain guests from “paparazzi”), I am also aware that there are many ways to deliver the same message and his tone with me (a paying guest) was extremely rude and accusatory. Anyone with two eyes could see my camera was aimed at the top of the phone booth and nowhere near any patrons. As I continued to stand near the phone booth, waiting for Melissa to return from the restroom, he paced by a few times to make sure I wasn’t taking pictures, eyes glaring at my camera. Next thing I knew he was whispering to another Manager and not very subtly motioning towards me. As soon as Melissa returned, I walked over to the other Manager and let him know how rude Scuto had been. He was very apologetic and when we were finished our meal, checked in at our table to see how the meal was and then toured us around the restaurant, showing us some of the banquet rooms and discussing the history of the restaurant. THAT’S how you do customer service. Would I go back? Of course. The overall experience was very good; you can’t judge a place on two bad apples.

See more Musso & Frank photos at my main website.


Anonymous said...

Once again, thank you for another wonderful story. Often we expect our service be in line with a certain musical number from Beauty and the Beast. In reality, it's Janine Melnitz answering the phone "Ghostbustahs, whadya want?!" Occasionally i notice bad customer service comes from the top down, meaning it could be Scuto's influence over Josh and other operations. How did Napoleon put it? "If a dog leads a hundred Lions, they will die like dogs. If a lion leads 100 dogs, they will fight like lions." I'm glad to hear the other manager save the night. Great pictures by the way. I'll bet if that phone booth could talk, it wouldn't shut up. That's probably a good thing that it doesn't.

Daveland said...

LOVE the Janine Melnitz example; but I have to say she was even more friendly than Scuto!

Anonymous said...