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Five Classic Restaurants

Five Classic Restaurants

Get the dish on these famous restaurants that are as American as apple pie.

1. ODEON

145 W Broadway, New York 10013 (@ Thomas St)
(212) 233-0507
theodeonrestaurant.com
Immortalized in Jay McInerney's classic New York novel, Bright Lights Big City, this downtown mecca for New York's media and art crowd literally dares you to reinstate the three martini lunch. Skip the Bolivian marching powder for a half dozen Blue Points. Food is so-so, but it's all about atmosphere, so skip Sunday brunch for late night burgers.

Signature dishes: onion soup, roast chicken.

2. MUSSO & FRANK GRILL

6667 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90028
(323) 467-7788
Mussoandfrankgrill.com
Ninety years of an unchanging menu and cocktail selection have turned this Hollywood institution into a beloved favorite. The former hangout of Hemingway, Faulkner, and and F. Scott Fitzgerald, it had a guest role in Tim Burton's Ed Wood, and more recently in Ocean's 11 as the setting for Brad Pitt and George Clooney to discuss their bank robbing venture.

Signature dishes: Steak, chops, grilled fish. Just keep it simple.

3. SARDI'S

234 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
(212) 221-8440
Sardis.com
Newspaper men like Walter Winchell made Sardi's the hottest ticket on Broadway back in the '40s and '50s, and for a while it was the place where the Tony nominations were announced. In the 1960s, when new shows were opening on Broadway nightly, actors would gather at Sardi's to await the reviews (the first 25 copies of The New York Times and The New York Herald Tribune were rushed to the restaurant from the presses at midnight; good reviews meant champagne all around). Sadly that era is long since over. Vincent Sardi Jr, the unofficial mayor of the Great White Way, died in 2007 at the age of 91, and there's not much left of the restaurant's old magic except for the hundreds of caricatures of Broadway stars that cover the walls. It's not exactly what was meant by celebrity spotting, but these days it will have to suffice.

Signature dishes: Cannelloni with Sardi sauce, a homey curiosity in which French crepes are stuffed with ground chicken, ground beef, spinach and Parmesan cheese, then topped with a velout? sauce enhanced with Hollandaise, sherry and whipped cream.

4. PINK'S HOTDOGS

709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles
(323) 931-4223
Pinkshollywood.com
What started as a pushcart in 1939 is now a hole-in-the-wall legend, with lines to match. Chili dogs at $2.95 each represent better value today than they did 70 years ago, but for the real deal, order the "Rosie O'Donnell Long Island Dog," -- ten inches of dog topped with mustard, onions, chili and sauerkraut.

Signature dish: Chili cheese dogs (for seven days, from November 7, for 70 minutes at 7:00 p.m, they are selling them for 70 cents to celebrate Pink's 70th anniversary).

5. THE BERGHOFF

17 W Adams St (between Dearborn St & State St), Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 427-3170
Berghoff.com
There are wurst places, and then there was The Berghoff's wurst, some of the best in the city, along with other German and east European fare, including schnitzel, spaetzle, sauerkraut, and excellent potato pierogies. Opened in 1898 and closed in 2006, then reopened in a frankly disappointing reincarnation, minus much of the heavy German food. But you can still sit at the iconic mahogany bar, drinking one of Berghoff's root beer martinis (the root beer is a Berghoff recipe dating back to prohibition when it substituted for real beer).

Signature dishes: Alsatian onion and apple soup, potato pierogies with chive sour cream.

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