Critic At Large... Ruta Lee
By Ruta Lee
Oct 1, 2006 - 10:00:00 PM

Republic is the new "hot spot" on La Cienega's restaurant row. Just north of Melrose, a valet will take your car and beautiful young ladies meet, greet and seat you in this unique bar and dining room. The bar is verrrrry comfy, big cushy sofas and well upholstered bar chairs make cocktails a very pleasant experience. The staff aims to make all guests very comfortable.

An extraordinary menu, created by chefs Gabriel Morales and Luis Perdon, offers dishes that please the eye as well as the palette... somewhat exotic in attitude, but like more familiar fare, so satisfying. Do not miss the chef's special crab cakes and oh, the Salexis Chardonnay make for a great combo.

Republic’s wine cellar is not easily matched, proudly featuring wines from boutique vineyards that produce only small quantities. For the real wine connoisseur, it is like a visit to the crown jewels. There are exceedingly rare bottles, priced like the crown jewels, at $1500 to $2300 per bottle. For me, this dining and wining adventure was a romantic wonderful treat. Be sure to catch the demonstration of the “Wine Ferry.”

While the average patron might find Republic’s offerings pricey (not for the feint of purse), it is a glamorous and delicious experience. Try it for a special occasion… but dinner there will make any occasion special.

Now……… on the other end of the dining spectrum, is the venerable old “hot spot”… Musso Franks, in Hollywood. Parking in the rear provides easy back entrance to the beloved olden days of Hollywood. I think the waiters started out as bus boys at Lindy’s on Times Square, like your old uncle, with advice on what to eat, because they care. And ooooh what a menu! ……a great variety of ‘comfort foods’ we all know and love. Calves liver and onions are perfection. The sand dabs are the best I’ve ever tasted. Steaks, kidneys, chicken pot pie, all fabulous.

Like a lot of folks, I rate a restaurant by the bread it serves. Here it is whole loaves of good sourdough. Every salad imaginable is available but I am partial to the lettuce wedge, with their incredible blue cheese vinaigrette.

All the food portions are large, so are the booze portions! This makes for happy patrons! They have been returning for nearly 100 years for the comfort Musso Franks serves up.

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