Long ago, the vast farmstead Rancho Sausal Redondo (Round Willow Ranch) encompassed El Segundo and most of what is known today as the South Bay. An homage to history, Sausal (the old Spanish word for willow), has taken on new meaning in El Segundo’s dining scene.
Written by Michelle Lyn | Food photos courtesy of Sausal | Interior Photos Courtesy of Andrew Bricco
The vision of chef Anne Conness, Sausal reects a passion for comfort food elevated with punches of bold Mexican flavors. A familiar South Bay restaurateur (she is also a partner in Tin Roof Bistro and Simmzy’s), Conness teamed up with Westside restaurant veterans Sorin Costache and Joseph Suceveanu (both of Il Forno) to bring new energy to one of Los Angeles’ fastest-growing foodie destinations.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the rich culinary history of the South Bay’s founding rancheros,” shares Conness, a longtime area resident. “Reimagining those flavors in a way that speaks to the modern palate has been a goal of mine for quite some time. I couldn’t be more thrilled to see that turn into a reality with Sausal, especially amidst all the growing excitement around food in the community here.”
Deeming her cuisine “Nuevo Rancho” style, Conness’ menu draws inspiration from the foundational elements of traditional Rancho cooking (wood-fire, smoke and slow roasting). Dishes deftly combine traditional Hispanic ingredients with high-quality, local produce.
“Snacks” start with familiar fare like Chicken Pozole Soup, and evolve with items such as Oxtail Picadillo Empanadas. The “Taco Bar” balances the customary Crispy Fish taco (albeit with “fancy pico” and charred tomato crema) with the less traditional Pork Adobo taco with tomatillo salsa and cilantro-onion relish. Moving on to the “Hearth” section of the menu, dishes like Duck Confit tamales with butternut squash, black mole and cotija; Red Mole Braised Lamb served with hominy grits, pepitas and sautéed kale; and Beef & Goat Birria confirm that Conness’ menu is like no other.
Sausal’s décor, meanwhile, combines modern and rustic design elements, creating a comfortable and contemporary ambience. A multi-colored, hand-stenciled mural illuminates the focal wall, and a hand-painted concrete floor mimics traditional Mexican tile. Flooded by natural light, the restaurant’s anchor is a dual-sided fireplace covered in distressed white brick that evokes communal dinners once hosted by ancestral rancheros on this very land before it became El Segundo.
Even the name Sausal honors the memory of a fun-loving, down-to-earth authenticity, one reaching back to a time when residents enjoyed spirited feasts and danced the fandango around an open fire under the stars. Guests might not be dining under the stars at Sausal, but after a few signature Rancho Margaritas, they’ll certainly feel the spirit.
219 Main Street, El Segundo CA 90245
310-322-2721 | Sausal.com