Newcomer Casita Mexican Restaurant & Bar opened in late June on a busy stretch of Ventura Boulevard. It’s from the same owners who opened the upscale robata eatery Taisho, which is just across the street. Casita — not to be confused with the longtime La Casita Mexicana — is home to the former Pearl District by a fledgling restaurant group hoping to make a name for itself in the San Fernando Valley.
The menu reads like one of Southern California’s many Mexican restaurants, with mezcals, beer, wine, and margaritas, while the food features guacamole, chili relleno, tostadas, and elote-style street corn. Chef Adam Titze added a Raw and Mariscos bar with ceviches, yellowtail crudo, and kumamoto oysters. There’s also a flaming panela cheese, whole snapper with salsa verde, sala roja and charred citrus, or the risotto-like bomba rice with coconut milk and lobster. But the $42 A5 Wagyu tacos are sure to raise eyebrows. Don’t worry, there are far cheaper tacos out there.
It took owners Christian Corben and Paul Carroll three months to redesign the Pearl District Sherman Oaks, which closed in March. To expedite the opening process, they relied on changes that didn’t require a permit but opened up the dining area with glass accordion windows overlooking Ventura Boulevard, natural timbers, and whitewashed walls. Casita has a beach feel despite being over 15 miles from any shoreline.
There are a few notable investors in Casita, including music producer/recording artist Anderson Paak. Chef Titze’s resume includes current work at Denver-based Sage Restaurant Group, head of culinary operations for the former Belcampo Group, and SoCal giant Innovative Dining Group (which makes Sushi Roku).
The block that Casita is on is becoming a busy stretch with Sushi Note, Petit Trois Le Valley and the Sherman Oaks Outlet for Pizzana. Casita’s seating model complements the Valley’s more established establishments like Mercado, Casa Vega, and Sol Y Luna. Brunch will be added later in the year. The opening times are daily from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.