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.)
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.
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.
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