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There's a new chef at Ammo, the Hollywood restaurant that's been quietly turning out seasonal-based, market-driven food for over a decade on Highland Avenue. Daniel Mattern took over the stoves at the beginning of December.
Mattern is no stranger to Los Angeles cooking, particularly this sort of what's-at-the-market food. He cooked at Campanile, and with Suzanne Goin at Lucques and AOC, which he helped open. After a short stint in Portland (where he befriended Casey Lane, how chef at The Tasting Kitchen), Mattern came home and was looking into opening his own place before Amy Sweeney tapped him to take over at Ammo. Sweeney, Ammo's owner and executive chef, had been running the kitchen since chef Julia Wolfson left early this year. Mattern says that he's working on a new menu, but is taking things slowly. "It'll be gradual, not like flipping a switch. Let's not fix what's not broken."
The restaurant, by the way, is named after Sweeney. It is not secretly a munitions factory. GM and wine director Benny Bohm says that they've gotten a lot of calls over the years. "The Yellow Pages lists us as a gun store." Ah, well. Maybe lunch specials for the NRA crowd. I'm sure they haven't heard that one before.
Ammo: 1155 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles; (323) 871-2666.