I’m in L.A. for business a couple of weeks ago, and on Saturday night I make plans for dinner with my friend Claire, a local artist who is also one of those super cool chicks in-the-know. In L.A. that can be a dubious distinction, but Claire is first-class and has impeccable style. I trust her implicitly. Ammo, she says, is one of her favorites. Not scene-y, she warns/reassures. The food is really clean, she says, and looking at me reflectively adds, maybe too clean for you? She knows my love of indulgence, and the tendency to go for anything fried, with cream and butter, or containing a plethora of ingredients.
Maybe it’s that I’ve indulged too much when it comes to dining out, but lately I crave clean, simple food made of the absolute best ingredients. That’s why I love Ammo. Alot. It’s in a boring part of Hollywood on a stretch of Highland Ave with not much else but Ammo. The interior is earthy modern- lots of wood, exposed bulbs, fresh flowers. It’s a California culinary zen den. Here’s why I fell in love:
COCKTAILS: An absolutely ethereal cucumber mint martini. Made with my new favorite gin, Hendrick’s (hints of rose mix well with cucumber), it was one of the most fresh and clean drinks I’ve imbibed in a long time. Way later, after a couple glasses of Soave, my new favorite white wine, I had them make me a Negroni. It was excellent, and that’s all I can really say because I had a real strong buzz happening at that point.
EATS: the ne plus ultra of arugula salads lives at Ammo. I think Jesus grew the arugula. Apparently it had been bought that morning at the farmer’s market (this is Ammo’s thing, super local and super fresh) and it was vibrant green, full of spice and a slight sweetness. It held up well to a delish parmigiano reggiano, and served with olive oil and lemon.
We also had an amazing Ahi tuna tartare and a spaghetti with pancetta and sauteed bitter greens. For dessert we had these homemade ice cream sandwiches that were pushed away with an “I can’t possibly eat that” and then promptly swallowed in full.
SERVICE: We sat at the bar, which is always my preference. Benny Bohm, the Austrian wine manager, was this really sweet guy who offered us fresh clementines that he had picked up at the farmer’s market on the way to work. We fell in love with Benny.
P.S. I know there are a lot of farmer’s market references here, and the words “California zen den” were used. Before you break out the cut-offs, tie-dye, and teva look, please be aware this is a really sophisticated spot, with prices to match. Check out the website for more details, menu, and pics.
Ammo, 1155 North Highland, Los Angeles, CA 323/871/2666