Newcomer Casita Mexican Restaurant & Bar opened on a busy stretch of Ventura Boulevard in late June. It comes from the same owners that opened the upscale robata spot Taisho, which sits directly across the street. Casita — not to be confused with longstanding La Casita Mexicana — resides in the former Pearl District space, by a fledgling restaurant group that hopes to make a mark 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, chile 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 A5 wagyu tacos for $42 are sure to raise eyebrows. Don’t worry, there’s far more affordable tacos available.
Owners Christian Corben and Paul Carroll took three months to revamp 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 facing Ventura Boulevard, natural woods, and whitewashed walls. Casita sports a beachy feel, even though it’s over 15 miles away from a coastline.
There’s some notable investors at Casita, including music producer/recording artist Anderson Paak. Chef Titze’s resume includes current work with the Denver-based Sage Restaurant Group, director of culinary operations at the former Belcampo Group, and SoCal giant Innovative Dining Group (which does Sushi Roku).
The block that houses Casita is shaping up to be a busy stretch with Sushi Note, Petit Trois Le Valley, and the Sherman Oaks outlet for Pizzana. Casita’s sit-down model adds to the Valley’s more established spots like Mercado, Casa Vega, and Sol Y Luna. Brunch will be added later in the year. Hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.