Down the main street (conveniently called Main Street) in El Segundo, rests a restaurant that will certainly attract your attention thanks to its inviting, open-air seating and the soft sound of Latin music just faint enough to hear on the outside. This hidden gem is the newly opened, contemporary Mexican restaurant, Sausal.
When you peak inside, you’ll find an upscale-casual eatery with standout features such as a wood-burning hearth oven, a glassed-in kitchen as well as a floor-to-ceiling dual-sided fireplace. It is modern and rustic at the same time, with inviting, midnight blue booths, brightly-tiled floors, wooden tables and a white brick ceiling.
The Nuevo Rancho menu is a great representation of Rancho cooking by utilizing wood fire, smoke and slow-roasting.
Start with the salsa trinity—spicy red-brick arbol salsa, sour green tomatillo cilantro salsa and spicy-sweet habanero yellow pepper—with taco chips so big they resemble plates. You won’t want to miss the caramelized Brussels sprouts with sourdough croutons, guajillo butter, smoked cashews, dried shrimp and lime, but the fresh albacore crudo, served “Cali style” with chili torreados, soy, avocado, sea salt and peanuts—is the real standout here. It is quite easily the best dish we’ve had in months; an unexpected and rare treat.
While you’ll find tacos (beef brisket, fish and chicken) on the menu, you’ll definitely want to explore more modern items like a duck, butternut squash and Oaxaca cheese tamale and red mole braised lamb, made with chili peppers, garlic, onions, chocolate and spices and served with hominy grits, pepitas and sauteed kale with currants and olives.
We’d be remiss in failing to mention that the chicken pozole soup—chicken, hominy, tomatillo and green chili soup with tostada, cabbage, red onion and a wisp of lime—may be the ultimate comfort food, while there’s also fare here for vegetarians in the form of a delightful kale, quinoa and blackberry salad.
For dessert, you’ll find classic items with a twist, such as the Spanish sticky date cake with spiced pecans, tangerines and vanilla ice cream and chocolate empanaditas with Stumptown cold brew coffee mousse.
The wine list is small but pleasing—there are more than 20 wines offered from Spain, Latin America and California—and you can’t help but try one of two exclusive beers on offer: Fandango Blonde and Papichulo LA Amber. The cocktail list is fantastic, features an “of-the-moment” scratch cocktails using seasonal farmers market fruits and housemade syrups (the Mexican egg nog is awesome) and tequila flights.
Bottom line: this South Bay spot is, hands-down, our new go-to.
Sausal is located at 219 Main St. in El Segundo, (310) 322-2721
Hours: Monday – Thursday: Lunch and Dinner 11am – 10pm; Friday: Lunch and Dinner 11am – 10:30pm; Saturday: Brunch 11am – 3pm; Dinner 3pm – 10:30pm; Sunday: Brunch 11am – 3pm; Dinner 3pm – 10pm
Photo Credit: Andrea Bricco