Sausal signals a major shift in dining for El Segundo, which up until recently was more than happy to take in every known chain restaurant concept out there. Despite the location, Sausal is far from any chain you've seen before.
Sausal is a "Nuevo Rancho" restaurant that recalls the earliest days of Southern California's eating culture during the days of Spanish occupation. The area, once dubbed Rancho Sausal Redondo, recalls slow-roasting, grilling, and rustic techniques to produce dishes for the ranchero life.
That means grilled artichoke relleno, charred tomato tinga, or oakwood-fired steak with potato tostone and chimichurri. There's also hearth-roasted local halibut with chili oil, or beef and goat birria with a cilantro-onion relish. It's the kind of soulful, memorable cooking that counters the Veggie Grills and Marmalade Cafes of the area.
Sausal comes via chef/partner Anne Conness, who cooked at South Bay populist hit Tin Roof Bistro, as well as Manhattan Beach's Simmzy's before bringing an elevated sense of Pre-United States Mexican fare. Conness also had stints at Water Grill, Campanile, and Chinois on Main, so the gal's got some legit cooking chops. She's partnering with Sorin Costache and Joseph Suceveanu, who are behind Santa Monica's longtime Italian spot Il Forno.
Unlike many new restaurants, desserts won't be an afterthought at Sausal, with pastry chef Natasha MacAller (Napa Valley Grille) putting together Spanish sticky date cake with spiced pecans or grilled stone fruit with bay leaf sabayon on the sweets section. Finally, the drinks menu crafts intoxicants like the prickly pear caipirinha or the 2nd city manhattan, which fuses bourbon and vermouth with mole bitters.
The robust interior comes anchored with a two-sided fireplace, which brings an immediate sense of inviting warmth. A sweeping bar gives it a sense of casual, everyday appeal while local artist Celeste Korthase has touched up some of the decor. Otherwise, Sausal is just as it should be: a refined-yet-rustic dinner space meant to evoke the past.
Sausal keeps dinner hours nightly, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and running until 11 p.m. on weekends (10 p.m. weeknights). Lunch and brunch are soon to follow.
219 Main St.El Segundo, CA 90245