Troy Patterson
October 29, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
genre
Documentary

We gave it a B

This elegy for the storied Hollywood chow house (1936-1995) concentrates on the talented eccentrics who constituted its staff rather than on the movie stars who made up its patrons. (Just as well — the new footage here includes such revelatory sights as Rod Steiger messily gnawing on beef.) Waiters and maitre d’s carry on about celebrities and bowls of chili with equal fondness, but Off the Menu isn’t so much a nostalgia piece as a gentle rumination on nostalgia itself. Reel Goodies (0:12) We learn that bartenders created the Shirley Temple specifically for the child actress’ consumption. The Last Detail With rare exceptions, Alfred Hitchcock ate at Chasen’s every Thursday after moving to L.A. in 1939. B

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