Chef/partner Anne Conness (formerly of Tin Roof Bistro, Simmzy’s, Water Grill and Campanile) plans to open the doors to Sausal in El Segundo right after Labor Day, on Tuesday, Sept. 8. The chef is describing the restaurant's style as “nuevo rancho.” What does that mean? According to the press release, it means: “The restaurant’s nuanced cuisine marries [Conness'] unmatched expertise in elevating everyday comfort food with her deeply personal passion for imagining the bold, earthy flavors of traditional Mexican fare through a Southern California sensibility.” It is named after the farmstead that used to encompass the area, Rancho Sausal Redondo.

Partners Sorin Costache and Joseph Suceveanu are the folks behind Santa Monica’s Il Forno. 

“I’ve always been fascinated by the rich culinary history of the South Bay’s founding rancheros,” says Conness, a longtime South Bay 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.”

A modern take on Mexican food is the backbone of many new restaurants, and Conness also is incorporating another popular trend: cooking over a wood fire, using smoke and slow-roasting. Dishes from the restaurant’s wood-burning oven will include local halibut with roasted veggies and chile oil, steamed in a banana leaf; and beef and goat birria served in a chile broth with cilantro-onion relish and jicama slaw. There also will be steaks and burgers cooked over the wood fire. 

Sausal will have a serious cocktail program, along with craft beers and wine. According to the press release, “The space will be anchored by a dual-sided fireplace covered in distressed white brick. A multicolored, hand-stenciled mural illuminates the focal wall, a tour de force by local artist Celeste Korthase.” 

Sasual will be open nightly, with lunch and brunch coming soon.

Sausal, 219 Main St., El Segundo. 310-322-2721, 

LA Weekly