Was forced to go to Miss Saigon last night at the Pantages. Our guests insisted on Musso's, so we went for a 6:00 reservation in the "new" room (the one with the bar). They did a great job of getting us out by 7:40 (for an 8:00 curtain) without making us feel rushed.
Martinis, as usual, were superb. The sourdough bread is good and toothsome but not warmed. The Caesar salad ($13)(no tableside service)was acceptable but not remarkable. The dressing was too creamy for my taste and too mild. It easily would serve two as they bring a full plate of salad and a bowl on the side with a second serving (which Mrs. Swift thoroughly enjoyed). There is a $2 split charge but who's to know if someone simply eats out of the second bowl? She had the Crab Louie ($23) which had more Dungeness crab than she could eat, probably canned crabmeat but very flavorful nonetheless. Louie dressing a bit heavy on the chili sauce. Big surprise was a new dill pickle that rivals Langer's.
For the first time I took the advice of those on this board, and what I have told myself repeatedly over the years, and remembered that Musso's is a "GRILL." Hence I limited my choices to grilled items and therefore avoided what have been called the "land mines on the menu." The French-cut lamb chops ($32), ordered rare, arrived a tad more on the medium-rare side but were excellent. No gristle or silverskin, moist and flavorful. A good char and plenty of jus waiting to be soaked up by the skin of the baked potato that accompanies the chops. Wonderful lamby flavor and the ribs were great for gnawing.
The guests had the tomato stuffed with chicken salad ($12) which had a massive amount of chicken inside a quartered tomato (I wonder, but doubt, if they use heirloom tomatoes, or even really ripe tomatoes, once the season starts). Also the crab salad ($22), basically the crab Louie without the dressing. Both had those great pickles.
With 4 call drinks and 1 Irish coffee, the bill was $165 before tip.
An interesting observation on the vegatables offered: broccoli, asparagus and green beans are listed as "fresh;" the peas, corn, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini are not. I sense canned and frozen.
The meal was so much more enjoyable having avoided those land mines. However, a few menu items intrigue me and I wonder of anyone has any experience with them - some seem impossible to foul up. Sauteed sand dabs meuniere ($20), oyster stew ($15), roast duckling ($19), cassoulet toulousian ($19) (bet Chez Mimi's is better), sauteed lamb kidneys turbigo ($17) and sauteed brains milanaise ($19). Their liver and onions is beef, not veal. I forgot to ask about the brains. The table next to us had a couple of beef tenderloins ($34)that had to be just under 3 inches thick. They looked great - Does anyone have experience with their steaks?