A LOCAL FAVORITE LEADING THE WAY
There’s nothing like a quality local favorite restaurant where you can hangout, listen to great music, enjoy a good conversation and indulge in fine handcrafted cocktails and an excellent meal. For the folks along Highland Avenue in the Hollywood and West Hollywood area, they’ve got it made. The area is really coming up and AMMO is helping to lead the charge.
Since 1996, the petite restaurant, that lets the seasons dictate its menu, has been quenching palettes and delighting taste buds. Its impressive Happy Hour is a favorite among locals and area workers; its brunch is a staple, and as we found out during our recent dinner, drinks and dinner are top notch.
With a cool, tailor made hipster playlist on the iPod, the setting is ripe for a comfortable night out. We began with drinks, because that’s what you do at AMMO. The Belgium Sunrise, made with Allagash white ale, Lindemans lambic framboise, and frambeau liquor, is a refreshing drink that’s perfect for beer lovers looking for a cocktail. And at $10 it’s a fine option among the seasonal cocktails. And we just had to try the bar’s take on the highly popular Old Fashioned and give their Citrus Fashioned a go. Made with Old Overholt rye, lemon, orange, tangerine zest, maraschino jus, and bitters, it’s clever and tasty, but for $13 I may want to stick to the tried and true original.
Looking at the impressive green cocktail a nearby table ordered made me want a Johnny Green Spot right away. Mixed with Tierra’s añejo tequila, green chartreuse, Meyer lemon juice, grapefruit juice, Thai basil, and jalapeno, this is a savory one. Well worth its hefty $14 price tag.
Our starter item, perfect for sharing, was the Steamed Clams & Mussels with white wine, cannellini beans, pancetta, sorrel, chervil, and pickled chili. Loaded with clams and mussels, the name says it all when your steaming bowl of goodness arrives. Served with freshly toasted bread, you will definitely want more to soak up the mouthwatering broth once you’ve managed to relish every last wonderful bite.
Now to the main course, I went with the Barramundi (also known as Asian sea bass), braised in the wood oven with baby artichokes, cherry tomatoes, cannellini beans, Castelvetrano olives, white wine and fresh herbs. Apparently I was not afraid to overdo it with steaming fish stews, and this was a good, somewhat lighter option for dinner. While the fish is not as flavorful as say Chilean sea bass, the stew itself offers a fantastic taste. And definitely order a side of the giant Grilled Asparagus whenever it is available.
And for the meat lovers, you can’t go wrong with the Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chop. A wonderful presentation with a side of delightful lentils, this is comfort food at its best.
While dessert was calling, it only made sense to cleanse our palettes with a fine crafted beverage. And I’m glad we did because that’s when I discovered that The Dominicano, made with Citadelle gin, Dolin Blanc vermouth, Dolin Rouge vermouth, Aperol, and orange bitters, was the evening’s cocktail winner. What a great drink for anyone who relishes a fine, stiff drink. And at $10, it’s a steal.
We also tried The Grand Rep, mixed with Illegal mezcal reposado, Grand Marnier, lime juice, vanilla, and applewood smoked salt, which had the right amount of bitterness and lime flavor without being too smokey as mezcals can be. But at $18 I’d rather have two Domincanos.
And for the sweet tooth diners, you can’t go wrong with the Strawberry Shortcake with Mascarpone Cream. Come on, who doesn’t love a good ice cream sandwich? I like being able to go a fine restaurant, enjoy a terrific meal and yet savor a classic, yet basic, dessert that hits the mark without the frills. The Rhubarb Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream was also tasty and worth noting, but honestly, it’s all about the strawberry ice cream sandwich. No fuss, no mess, it’s almost as good as being at the ball game. Talk about a homerun!
AMMMO is located at 1155 North Highland Avenue. Call 323-871-2666. Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 am - 2:30 pm; Mon-Thu 6 pm - 10 pm; Fri-Sat 5:30 pm - 11 pm; Sat-Sun 10 am - 2:30 pm; Sun 5 pm - 9 pm. Valet and street parking available.
Some photography courtesy of: AMMMO