The entrance to the Brown Derby is under a canvas canopy. A brass sign outside the door reads as follows:
"This building is inspired by the Vine Street Brown Derby originally built in Hollywood, California in 1928."
The entry foyer to the Brown Derby has framed caricatures of famous celebrities on the walls, along with some photos of the original Brown Derby from the 30's and 40's. There are leather chairs and love-seats for guests to sit while waiting to be seated in the restaurant proper.
Apparently at the original Brown Derby, they started to collect the caricatures in 1929.
The main room has a vaulted ceiling with three wings, the fourth wall holding a full bar. It is decorated in 1930's art deco. All of the tables are set with green linen, and wall lamps are in the shape of small derby's.
On the walls are more caricatures of famous celebrities that have visited the restaurant.
Reservations are pretty much required in order to eat here. Usually you can make reservations that day, at least for lunch, and not have any problems assuming you get in early enough.
There is no apparent dress code.
Wait staff handle only four to five tables at any given time, so attention to patrons is good.
A number of recipes are available for those that look for them:
- Cobb Salad with French Dressing
- Brown Derby Old Fashion French Dressing
- Grapefruit Cake
- Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting
- Clark Gable proposed to Carole Lombard in booth 5.
- Lucille Ball and Jack Haley fought a duel with flying dinner rolls.
- Cobb salad was invented by the owner, Robert Cobb, one night for theater magnate Sid Grauman.
14 January 2007
I walked up to the host and requested a seat for lunch, and was given a reservation at 1pm by Paul.
At 1pm I arrived back at the restaurant and informed Paul that I was there for my reservation. He then proceeded to get a host (Brent), who called me soon thereafter to seat me. As he seated me, he informed me that my waiter would be Crispin. According to Crispin's nametag, he is from Bolivia.
While I was eating my meal, I observed a child (perhaps three years old) completely attracted to and mesmerized by one of the guide lights along the path in the room. This light was at mid shin level, used to illuminate the carpeting in the room when it gets dark.
At another time, it was apparently someone's birthday. As such, the wait staff decided to sing Happy Birthday to them. Now, this is not like the Happy Birthday song you would hear at a place such as Fridays or Ruby Tuesdays. This was a much sweeter and simpler version, just the normal song sung without raucousness. Really, it was one of the best renditions of the song I have ever heard, particularly inside of a restaurant.
In the background 30's swing music is playing at a tolerable level to not override normal talking.
- Icewine: Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d'Asti
- Appetizer: Honey-chipolte barbecued pork rib belly with succotash and jalapeno cornbread
- When taking a full bite, the barbecue sauce comes through, and the chipolte is not very strong at all. The jalepeno in the cornbread is very light and not hot at all. The cornbread balances out the tanginess of the barbecue sauce. Unfortunately the plating used for this dish makes it hard to get to the succotash until after you have eaten through the pork and cornbread. This leaves the taste of the succotash in your mouth at the end. Having the cornbread on the bottom would have been a better palate cleanser. Instead I had to use some bread that was provided to cleanse the palate.
- Cobb salad with finely chopped greens, turkey meat, bacon, egg, tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, avocado, chives, and cobb dressing
- The salad is not combined until it reaches the table. Spoons are provided so that you can mix it yourself, or the wait staff will offer to do it for you. Once mixed, the taste of the blue cheese is the strongest, followed by the bacon. The avocado is unfortunately lost, and you really have to search for its taste. The same goes for the turkey. In each bite is an initial flash of egg. The cobb dressing is slightly tart with a bit of vinegar, applied lightly enough not to overpower.
- Bread: White bread was provided that had a crisp outer crust and chewy center, still warm. The taste was good.
- Water: This is tap water, and you are asked if tap water will be alright. I assume this means that they will also serve Evian if you so desire, though at a price. The water comes with a lemon, and the lemon is spiked with a Disney/MGM branded toothpick.