Ammo is no new kid on the block. Nestled modestly on Highland between finishing houses and industry equipment shops, Ammo has been the go-to lunch cafe for studio execs for the past decade. But should it be a destination for us non-power lunchers? If my first experience has any holding, then yes; I would vouch for its quiet, casual elegance over the buzzing brunch scenes elsewhere. Where a man in a straw fedora and shorts can walk up and be seated on the sidewalk patio beside us and enjoy his book and cappuccino on a Sunday at noon, un-bothered.. a pleasant retreat.
Crisp white linens, simple lines, natural wood and exposed wine storage comprise the clean and warm interior. Small masculine leather booklets encase the single page brunch menu. It takes one glance, and I know what I am ordering. Nowhere makes it this easy for me (what, I'm a Libra). Simplicity, with consideration; Ammo is classic seasonal Californian cuisine. Something I have grown to appreciate in my years as an converted Angeleno.. (thinking back to my fine dining days in Oregon, cringing at anything "Californian").
I didn't have to over think anything at Ammo. And obviously neither have they. The food speaks for itself, humble as the virtually brand-less storefront space (the word Ammo is printed crisply once on the awning, and is set in bronze on the doorstep.. that's about it). My cappuccino was picture perfect. But the plate that followed something more.I ordered the Poached Eggs with shaved fennel, roasted golden beets, cherry tomatoes, haricot verts, cucumbers, and olive tapinade, which came with a side of roasted fingerling potatoes. I immediately appreciated the wildness of the egg white, obviously poached in an open pan without use of a mold or other device; a cloud-like preparation only achieved by a person using just a pan of water (and something about this honesty comforted me). The vegetables were seasoned only with salt and pepper, the potatoes with some fresh herbs. Everything was impeccably cooked, ripe, and crisp. Nothing about the meal was heavy or overly filling, like that rare absolutely perfect salad that satiates lightly, imbuing a fresh vivacity like that which follows good sushi.
My date couldn't resist ordering French Toast with caramelized apples, maple syrup and crème fraîche.. and I couldn't resist taking a bite once I saw it. Tall, thick and narrow slices were lightly battered on all sides, golden, with succulent slices of apple flesh that may have been "caramelized" but not in the sense one might expect (no goopy sauce here). A delightful treat.
Reinventing the wheel? Surely not. But my fresh and lovely meal at Ammo earned a high mark in my merit book, which can only help convince me to return again in the future.. Especially if that day calls for a serene place to enjoy my book and a capp.
1155 N Highland Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038; 323.871.2666