Wednesday, November 03, 2010

No. 185: AMMO (Hollywood)

AMMO Restaurant is like a security blanket--comfortable, warming. Having been in business since 1996 (ancient by LA standards,) it's been dishing out farm-fresh fare with just a smidgen of contemporary-urban twist for nearly 15 years. With its Hollywood location (on Highland just north of Santa Monica,) it's the place that "the biz" comes to when they want tire of the haute, high-brow (and high priced!) dining and just want something homely and familiar. Indeed, on busier days you may see some screenplays dangling precariously on the edge the two-tops, sunglass-donning agents and producers talking shop at the bar while downing their obligatory three martinis, and maybe even a famous face now and again. But I digress...

Going off that seasonal-and-simple approach to food, earlier this year AMMO launched their Sunday Roast, a three-course, $32 prix-fixe that highlights the produce of the season. I loved the concept when it started and when they did a vegetarian-friendly menu a few weeks back, I immediately made plans to go, joined in the 11th hour by vegetarian-turned-sensitive omnivore Andy of The Windattack (after a little wine tasting @ nearby Domaine LA with Dishing Up Delights.)

Bread Offerings
The regular dinner menu is served too, but our eyes immediately honed in on the prix-fixe. So we quickly placed our order and was served this gorgeous & tasty bread duo of tarragon semolina & herbed flatbread. Wonderful with a dab in the olive oil, they were perfectly season, with the herbs perfectly accenting the freshly baked bread aromas.
Warm Mushroom Salad
Our first course is a warm mushroom salad with bitter greens and brown butter croutons in a vinagrette dressing. A delightful balance of different flavors and textures, but I can definitely taste freshness throughout. Andy in particular loved that the greens in this salad are carefully chosen (arugula, radicchio, frisee) and not just a random mish-mash of different "mixed greens" lettuces. Indeed, after he pointed it out I noticed how I appreciated how the slight bitter flavor offset the richness of the roasted mushrooms & the oily-acidity of the dressing.
Veggie Pot Pie w Lemon & Thyme
For our mains, vegetable pot pie with lemon & thyme -- oh can it get any more comforting than this? Farm-fresh vegetables (carrots, onions, potatoes, corn, broccoli and parsnips!) swimming in a delightful gravy under a golden, flaky crust that spilled over the bowl. Again, what we loved is the amazing flavor these veggies packed ("this carrot tastes so carroty!") and how the comparatively thin lemon & thyme gravy help rounded off some of the richness inherent in a pot pie. And even though we were beyond full, it didn't stop us from finishing this oversized "personal" pot pie... or using the last of our bread to sop up the stray veggie pieces and the puddle of gravy.
Baked Mission Fig
Desserts came in the form of roasted black mission figs baked in brioche in a pool of vanilla bean creme anglaise. a.k.a. what Fig Newton aspires to be as an adult. So simple and straightforward, yet so sophisticated too. The figs are the stars here, and they didn't disappoint--bursting with flavorful, sweet juiciness--so heavenly once I started I didn't even pause to take a photo of the interior. The brioche had a caramelized exterior and semi-cakey texture within and were perfect for soaking up that anglaise.

As we rolled out of AMMO with our bloated bellies, I realized I didn't seee any Hollywoody types throughout dinner. But such stellar ingredients that shone through with such simple-yet-elegant preparation, who needs a celebrity cameo to detract from that?

AMMO (click here to learn about their next Sunday Roast menu)
1155 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 467-3293

Ammo on Urbanspoon


The Wind Attack said...

mmm... that meal was so great. There were also parsnips in the pot pie which went great with the mild lemon flavor in the gravy. And that crust! oh, so perfectly tender and flakey. What every pie crust dreams of being.

The brioche part of the figs was practically like a donut with its sugary crust.

Thanks for reminding me why I need to go back soon!

Gastronomer said...

What a perfect meatless meal! The warm mushroom salad sounds especially amazing :-)

H. C. said...

@Windattack, thanks for the parsnips note -- revised my post. And yes, that amazing buttery crust. What all sticks of butter aspires to be (instead of winding up on a Paula Deen show)

@Gastronomer, yep -- here's hoping to more of their Sunday Roasts in my dining future :)


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