Friday, January 20, 2006

Restaurant review: Ammo

To celebrate a friend's birthday, we went to Ammo Cafe a couple of weeks ago. I work near there and had been for lunch a couple of times and basically fell in love with their puy lentil salad w/ beets and goat cheese. I also loved the minimal interior and the fact that there were several healthy options on the menu.

Three of us arrived at 7:00 pm and were seated promptly. Our waitress was very helpful without being too pushy and helped us select a wine from the Euro-centric wine list (we're more familiar with California wines). We were waiting on one more person but the groaning noises coming out of my tummy were almost deafening so we ordered a couple of appetizers to share. The Grilled Calamari, Shrimp and Scallop Salad with blue lake beans, haricot verts, sungold tomatoes, marinated baby artichokes and preserved lemon was smoky, lemony and just plain scrumptious (uh oh, I am beginning to sound like Giada De Laurentiis with all of my juvenile adjectives). The portion was quite generous so we all had our fair share of each crustacean. We also opted to share the beef carpaccio which was an excellent version drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and scattered with arugula and shaved parmesan.

When our fourth member arrived, we all placed our orders and nibbled on the crunchy flatbreads which came in the basket, along with olive and French bread. Soon the entrees arrived- my husband's Wild Bass braised in the wood oven with teardrop tomatoes, baby carrots & potatoes, white wine, fresh herbs was very mild and comforting, although I think he was a bit disappointed that it was, er, braised. I think he just saw "Wild Bass" and assumed that it would be pan seared. My friend ordered the rack of lamb special which was succulent while the other friend ordered Wood Oven Roasted Half Chicken inspired by “Zuni”, on a bed of torn croutons, young mustard greens, currants, pine nuts and scallions which was also delicious, even though it was a tad on the dry side. My magherita pizza was ultra thin, just the way I like it, and not too gooey. The crust was a real winner- chewy and yeasty with great flavor. My only disappointment was that I had asked to substitute burrata for the regular mozzarella (offering to pay more, of course) but the chef turned down my request. I guess I'm not supposed to screw with his art.

Even though we were pretty full (ok, stuffed to the gills is more like it) we were on a carbohydrate high and decided to order dessert. Make that four desserts- one for each. We all dove into my Trio of Ice Cream Sandwiches- the favorites being the lemon sorbet ensconced between two fiery gingersnaps and a praline ice cream matched up with butter cookies. My friend's sorbets were all delicious, particularly the green apple. Again, my poor husband got the short end of the stick with the well-intentioned warm chocolate pudding. It sounds all gooey and lovely until you remembered that chocolate pudding (not cake, not brownie) is best eaten chilled. The apple tart a la mode was pretty much devoured in record time.

Overall, I must say I quite love Ammo. The service is subtle and efficient and the atmosphere is very modern but peaceful. I was sad to see my beloved puy lentil salad absent from their dinner menu, but I know we will meet again during daylight hours.

PS- I didn't want to send the other patrons into a seizure with the shock of my extra bright camera flash which basically resulted in these artistic (read: fuzzy and dimly lit) photos.

1155 North Highland Ave
Los Angeles,CA
Tel: (323) 871-2666


JH said...

I've been meaning to go there but it doesn't really seem like a destination restaurant by any means and it's too far away (I'm in West LA) to warrant driving across the city to eat there ... but if I'm ever in the area, I will consider it.

Nice review!

obachan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
obachan said...

It sure looks like a nice, cozy place. The food photos mede me hungry...

BTW, thanks for your offer to participate in the meme. Now you're officially tagged for the Too Much Information Meme. Have fun! :D