The newcomer Casita Mexican Restaurant & Bar opened on a busy stretch of Ventura Boulevard in late June. It comes from the same owners who opened upscale robata place Taisho, which is right across the street. Casita—not to be confused with longtime La Casita Mexicana—is based in the former Pearl District, by a modernist group of restaurants hoping to make an imprint in the San Fernando Valley.
The menu reads like one of the many Mexican restaurants in Southern California with mezcals, beer, wine, and margaritas, while the food features guacamole, chile relleno, tostadas, and elote-style corn. Chef Adam Titz added a raw bar and mariscos with ceviches, yellow-tailed crudo, and Kumamoto oysters. There’s also smoldering panela, whole snapper with green salsa, sala ruga and charred citrus, or risotto-like bomba rice with coconut milk and lobster. But the A5 wagyu tacos for $42 are sure to surprise. Don’t worry, there are plenty of tacos available at reasonable prices.
Owners Christian Corbin and Paul Carroll took three months to renovate the Pearl Sherman Oaks area, which closed in March. To speed up the opening process, they relied on changes that did not require a permit, but opened the dining area with glass accordion windows facing Ventura Street, natural woods, and whitewashed walls. Casita has a beachy feel, even though it’s more than 15 miles from the coast.
There are some notable investors in Casita, including music producer/recording artist Anderson Paak. Chef Titz’s resume includes current work with Denver-based restaurant group Sage, director of culinary operations at former Belcampo Group, and giant SoCal’s Innovative Dining Group (which does Sushi Roku).
The building that houses the Casita is shaping up to be a busy extension with Sushi Note, Petit Trois Le Valley, and Sherman Oaks outlet in Pizzana. The Casita seating model adds to the more established sites in the valley such as Mercado, Casa Vega and Sol Y Luna. Brunch will be added later in the year. Working hours are from 5 pm to 10 pm daily.