Around the world and back again, and again, and again @ El Segundo (Review)

19 Nov
El Segundo Collage

All the noms!

We’re just going to say it outright . . . we can’t frickin’ get enough of El Segundo. And yeah, we were admittedly late in the game getting there. It was always on the top of our (long) list of places to hit, but when we don’t go out to eat nearly as much anymore, it became a little overwhelming. BUT, once we got there, oh man, we had to go back again STAT. And again after that. Aaaand again with friends. Aaaaand then again with family. Yep. That’s how much we love it. I mean, what’s not to love when each time you can try different ridiculously delish street food from another part of the world? Or, you know, you could try like a ton of them each time you go . . . because that’s how we roll.  

So why are we so in love with this spot? Well, first of all, it’s the second restaurant from the same guys who brought us The Spread in Norwalk, so you know it’s going to be good. And while we love The Spread for a nice night out, what we love about El Segundo is their brilliant approach to bringing street food from across the world right into one place, divided on the menu into Americas, Europe, and Asia. The best part about this is if you just want to hop in for a quick lunch or pre-movie snack, you can order up one or two. Or, if you want to have a more proper meal, order a few of each. Or, want to have fun and chill for a while with friends? Then order a bunch to share. It’s really the perfect restaurant for any and all occasions, and any and all tastes! Add to that a killer, chill, yet lively and fun vibe, awesome outdoor seating in nice weather, and excellent service, and you really can’t go wrong.

So with that, we must confess, we’ve eaten pretty much everything on the menu! We’ll spare you the novel and simply highlight some of the dishes that really stand out and leave some of the world exploration up to you! It’s worth the adventure . . .

FOOD:

Taco Arancini Philly and Arepa at El Segundo

Tacos al Pastor, Arancini, PCS, and Arepa

Banh mi

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 5/5

Banh mi, Asian-inspired sandwiches, have become so popular lately, and there’s a reason why: they’re so fucking good. Yeah, and this one at El Segundo doesn’t disappoint. The braised pork is cooked just right and remains nice and juicy, with a light mayo spread throughout that cuts that richness. The bread is soft and has some nice give to it, too, making the perfect vehicle to this sandwich. We also loved the nice level of heat coming from the jalapenos.

Arepas

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 4/5

While we tend to prefer our arepas a bit more doughy, we do really enjoy the thinner crispy crust. The stuffing inside the arepa is what really does it: delicate roast pork popping with plenty of salsa verde, queso fresco, and some red onions to cut the richness. 

Noodles

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 4/5

Oh yum! There was some crispness going on with the fried noodles, but it  really went over the edge with the sweet chili sauce. It added a great punch and a complexity to this dish. 

More Street Food from El Segundo

Bhel Puri, Goi Du Du, Souvlaki (not reviewed, but killer), Perro Calientes (not reviewed, but also killer), Banh Mi, Noodles

Philly Cheese Steak

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 5/5

They make their own whiz, I mean . . . come on! It’s a 5 cheese sauce that they melt down into a fondue. Just fantastically cheesy on the PCS! The steak itself is cooked very nicely, staying nice and juicy which ain’t easy when you’re talking thinly sliced beef. The onions (get with or without) added a nice flavor contrast, so we’d definitely suggest ordering. And, bringing it all together is the roll that has a nice give and heft to it. A must order. 

Tacos al Pastor

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 4/5

If you get one of the best seats in the house aka the bar, then you’ll have a great view of the kitchen. And, in that kitchen you better notice a spit with pork and pineapple, rotating in what we can only describe as The Dance of Joy (Cozhan Lahry!) When we got our tacos, we loved the moist pork paired with the juicy and sizzling pineapple. We took this dish up a few notches with their damn spicy Mucho Macho sauce. We’d try out all the sauces they have there because, well, hot sauce!  

Arancini

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 5/5

Holy five pound ball of awesome arancini, Batman! The outside of this monster sized rice ball is golden, crispy, and crunchy, while the inside is gooey with some fresh mooz oozing out. The rice is cooked perfectly al dente and there’s a great ratio of cheese to sauce. Beware lightweights: this dish could easily take you out for the night. But, we ain’t no f’n lightweights. BOOM!

Pulpo a la Gallega

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 4/5

Rule in the Del Ferraro household: if octopus is on the menu, order it. This dish is served cold, so it acts as a nice palate cleanser between dishes. The octopus is nice and delicate with flavor highlighted by low-and-slow-burn spicy paprika seasoning. Bringing the dish together in the classic way were potatoes, cooked just right so they had that nice snap, offering a fun contrast to the octopus. 

Bhel Puri (India)

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 2/5

This chopped salad made of potatoes, tomatoes, red onions, chiles, and puffed rice stood out to us. So, we got our order in and took our first bites. Overall, we felt like this dish fell flat and didn’t have much flavor or excitement to it. This is a good option if you’re looking for something more subdued, but considering all the great dishes on the menu, we’d skip this one.

Goi Du Du (Vietnam)

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 5/5

By far, our favorite dish from all of our visits! How good is it? We were told that this dish is often sold out and goes so fast! Getting down into things, this is a tropical paradise right in SoNo. It features some hot and sour squid, green papaya, and mango salad that includes mint, jalapeno slices, and ginger-lime dressing. The squid was perfectly cooked, the jalapeno added a spicy kick, and the fruit added a nice sunny and island feel. Another must must order.

Drinks at El Segundo

DRANKS:

Old Pal

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 4/5

“American Rye, Gran Classico bitter, Doin Rouge Vermouth, and orange.” This drink will quickly become your Old Pal. There’s an orange tinge on flavor, with bitter buzz and deep flavors going on. A strong drink with liquor forward notes. 

Custer’s Last Stand

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 5/5

 . . . well, with a few of these bad boys, you might not be standing anymore. ;) It has very nice balance, not being overly sweet at all. The lemon cuts through very nicely and it has such a nice punch from the allspice. Custer’s Last Stand features High West Prairie Bourbon and Down East Cider.

Velvet Hat Trick

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 5/5

The citrus is bright and refreshing . . . hot damn! Rum comes through a bit, but as a complement. Like Old Pal, this is a strong cocktail that might off put some people who prefer sweeter drinks. But, for a person who appreciates the rum mixed in with the kickassativity of falernum (syrup with flavors like ginger, cloves, ginger, and other tropical flavors), it’s tough to find a nicer drink on the menu to smooth you over.

Jungle Juice

You-need-to-order-this-rating: 4/5

Jungle Juice sounded like it would be more tropical and exotic when we ordered it, but it was still a nice cocktail. Made with a South African red wine, curaco, rooibos tea, and orange, we got a nice kinda sangria vibe. Overall this was a smooth and refreshing drink: a nice choice if you wanna take things a bit slower and easier.

Final Thoughts:

Ok we’re not being lazy here, but for real, if you read this post and drooled over the pics, need we really say more? No actually, if you got though this post and you aren’t in the car on the way to El Segundo by now we’re just going to end this here so you can get your coat on and go.

Seriously.

Go. Now. 


Noms: 4.25

Cost: $$-$$$

Address: 3 N Water St, Norwalk, CT 06854

Hours: Sunday-Thursday from 11am-close, Friday-Saturday from 11am-2am

Phone: (203) 939-9765

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