I was in Hollywood this past week for a conference at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, and had the opportunity to go to two Roadfood classics: Musso & Frank's and Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.
We went to Musso & Frank's at a quiet time (about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, because we had to get to a film festival in Westwood). Very few customers were around, which was fine with me. We were assigned a large booth, even though there were only two of us, and had the undivided attention of our excellent (old school) waiter. Very shortly after I ordered it, he brought me a perfect whisky sour on the rocks (I rarely have whisky sours, but somehow, that seemed the right choice at M&F's). My companion had a glass of red wine and sauteed liver and onions with mashed potatoes. I asked the waiter whether to have the "plate of the day" which was roast duck with orange sauce, or the daily special of chicken pot pie, and he said "chicken pot pie" without hesitation. I also had an order of fried eggplant, which is one of my favorites.
The waiter brought us sourdough bread and butter right away, and I had to restrain myself to keep from devouring the whole loaf.
The food came promptly. The chicken pot pie had huge tender chunks of white meat chicken, plus peas and carrots, in a creamy sauce, ladled over a nice, thin, flaky crust. The eggplant was sliced into discs, and was crisp, tasty and not at all greasy. My companion (who lives in LA), said he always has the liver and onions, and that it was perfectly cooked, "pink" as he ordered it.
I asked about the dessert pies, and the choices that day were apple, cherry and (I think) peach. Cherry pie is my favorite, so that's what I had. It was OK, but served ice-cold out of the refrigerator. I wouldn't go out of my way to have it again. It wasn't bad; just not special enough.
I love the atmosphere and can't wait to return. The place seemed to me to be a cross between Berghoff in Chicago and the late-lamented Marconi's in Baltimore.
Early lunch (11:45 a.m.) on Friday was at the North Gower Street branch of Roscoe's, with a different friend this time. We got right in and were seated in a booth. I ordered a buckwheat waffle and two fried chicken wings, but the waitress brought me three wings. They were fairly small, so I was happy to have three. The chicken was very good; the buckwheat waffle was outstanding! My companion had red beans and rice with a fried chicken breast. He wanted cornbread, but the cornbread wasn't ready, so he had a biscuit instead. I had a piece of the biscuit. It was a little dense and heavy, but had great flavor. Service was friendly and also prompt, which was good, because I had to get back to the conference for a presentation I was making just after 1 p.m. By the time we left (around 12:30), the place was packed. The guy at the door helped us get a cab.
Both of these experiences were very pleasant and the food was mostly outstanding. I am sure there are those who think these were "touristy" destinations, but I thoroughly enjoyed them both.