Daily Dish

Why you should head to El Segundo for a chopped salad and a duck mole tamale

Name: Sausal, pronounced (Sa-woo-sal). The name comes form the Spanish word for willow, and the restaurant is named after Rancho Sausal Redondo, the large farmstead that at one time included El Segundo. 

Concept: On a quiet corner of Main Street, in between a Rock & Brews and a flower shop is Sausal, a new Mexican restaurant by chef and partner Anne Conness (formerly at Tin Roof Bistro and Simmzy's) and partners Sorin Costache and Joseph Suceveanu, who own Il Forno in Santa Monica.

This is the type of Mexican restaurant you might find on a trendy Los Angeles corner. The kind that serves its elote off the cob with a spoonful of creamy chipotle sauce. The kind that tops its crispy Brussels sprouts with guajillo butter, smoked cashews and dried shrimp (Simmzy's is known for its Brussels sprouts). And the kind that stuffs its tamales with shredded duck confit and mole. Because it's in El Segundo, you will now find it on every where-to-go-when-you're-near-LAX list. 

Try this: If this restaurant were in L.A. proper, you might spot a celebrity and an agent, splitting a chopped salad on the patio. The salad is a hearty portion of diced green apple, currants, bacon, chicken, candied pecans, pomegranate, creamy apple cider vinegar dressing and lettuce that is more shredded than chopped. It's the kind of salad you linger over for lunch, with enough goodies to keep you interested until the last marjoram-glazed pecan is gone. 

The duck tamales are presented like a package, tied at the ends with slivers of corn husk, served on a plate surrounded by crumbled cotija and squares of butternut squash. Unwrap the package and you'll find a tender tamale stuffed with shreds of duck confit in a rich mole sauce. 

And if you're looking for tacos, the beef brisket barbacoa is slow-cooked until the meat falls apart, served with black beans, cotija and a brick red arbol salsa.

What you're drinking: You'll find a mix of Spanish, South American and California wines on the menu, with a single Nebbiolo from the Guadalupe Valley. There's also a selection of beers on tap, housemade sangrias and a small cocktail menu with a fruity pink gin drink appropriately named L.A. Pink and something called the Future Fix, made with Rittenhouse rye, Fresno chile, agave and lemon. The restaurant is also making its own lemonade and aguas frescas

Service: Helpful, with some colorful conversation on how the Carménère was once a favorite, but the new year has prompted a resolution to drink less.  When you inquire about three different wines, you're presented with generous tastes of all three.   

Info: Sausal is open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. 219 Main St., El Segundo, (310) 322-2721, www.sausal.com. 

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Jenn_Harris_

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